Ralph Nader, who looks askance at almost everything any National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief does, is peeved because Raymond A. Peck Jr., the present NHTSA boss, hasn't answered a letter. As proof, Nader sent us a copy of a letter dated Dec. 6, 1981, containing a number of questions about how NHTSA does things. "Ask Peck about it," Nader said, pleased with himself. "This letter's driving him crazy."

So we asked Peck about it yesterday. "If this call were to come in tomorrow, Ralph would have his reponse," Peck said. "Mr. Nader has over the course of several months barraged us with issues and questions . . . . Finding these things takes time . . . . Every time we get an answer prepared he laps us by sending in another letter." The last document Peck needed to answer the Dec. 6 letter, he said, was a 1979 report, done by a contractor, on automotive service cooperatives. It had never been published, and Nader wanted to know why. It will be published, Peck said, the decision not to publish having been made before his watch. "Incidentally, I understand Mr. Nader's strong interest in it," Peck said. "There are several pictures of Mr. Nader in it." Nader, Peck said, "has a special place in the heart and other parts of the anatomy of this agency." Life goes on. . .