Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Dec 16, 2015 in Product Liability
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will pay a $70 million fine for failing to report important safety information to the safety regulator.
The NHTSA requires automakers to report data about vehicle crashes, injuries, deaths, consumer complaints and other information so that the government can identify potential defects in vehicles in order to issue recalls.
The NHTSA first noticed gaps in reporting as well as significant underreporting of injury claims from Fiat Chrysler in September. The automaker admitted that it failed to disclose an unspecified number of reports, blaming the issue on a problem with coding data from accidents. An independent auditor is still working to determine how many injuries and deaths were not reported.
Fiat Chrysler has been under intense scrutiny from the NHTSA since July when the two reached a separate settlement of $105 million over the automakers poor handling of nearly two dozen recalls involving 11 million vehicles. As part of that settlement, an independent monitor was appointed to oversee the automakers recall process.
NHTSA Steps Up Penalties
In the last year, the NHTSA has taken a harsher stance against automakers safety failures after a series of high-profile recall scandals. The agency has also issued a record number of fines against companies that fail to meet its safety standards.
In November, the NHTSA issued record-breaking penalties and fines against the Japanese manufacturer Takata for its failure to promptly report safety defects in millions of its airbags.
In January, Honda was also fined $70 million for failing to disclose information about more than 1,700 injuries and deaths over an 11 year period. At the time, it was the largest auto safety fine in U.S. history.
The product liability lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings believe in holding automakers accountable for producing defective products. If you have been injured because of a defective vehicle part, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer from our firm today for a free consultation.