We reported last April that Ralph Nader was peeved because Raymond A. Peck Jr., the chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, had not answered his letter of Dec. 6. Peck promised then that Nader would get his answer posthaste. Nader still hasn't gotten it. "The letter is sitting here," Peck said in an interview. He sorted through several piles of things on his desk yesterday, but couldn't find the draft response. He declined to say when it would be completed.

Now he has a new letter from Nader, complaining about Peck's comments on the first letter. Nader was unhappy when Peck said, "Every time we get an answer prepared he laps us by sending in another letter." In fact, Nader said and Peck agreed, there had been no letter from Nader since Dec. 6. Nader was also unhappy when Peck said he understood Nader's strong interest in getting a study published. "There are several pictures of Mr. Nader in it," Peck said.

"The report has no pictures of me," Nader said. Well, Peck showed us what he said was his only copy of the report and there, on page 119 of a loose-leaf publication, were four small pictures. One of them, just one, not several, showed a person who looked like Ralph Nader talking to four people who looked like mechanics. Life goes on.