The federal government recently hit Fiat Chrysler, one of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers, with a $70 million fine for failing to report important safety information about vehicle accidents. The fine comes on the heels of another massive fine, $105 million, imposed against Fiat Chrysler for mismanaging 23 different vehicle recalls. The total amount of the fines, which includes $35 million in suspended fines that Fiat Chrysler will only have to pay if the company fails to implement effective safety measures going forward, is $175 million.
The major issue this time was that Fiat Chrysler did not provide federal regulators with “early warning data” on potential vehicle safety problems. Early warning data includes auto accident reports, warranty claims and personal injury lawsuits. Under federal law, automakers must hand over this data, in a timely fashion, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) so that auto safety regulators can examine it and determine whether a vehicle defect warrants a product recall.
The NHTSA determined that Fiat Chrysler created a major safety concern by under-reporting “notices and claims of deaths, injuries and other information.” As a result, significant fines were levied against the auto manufacturer.
Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, recently emphasized that the fines imposed against Fiat Chrysler should send a message to “other automakers” because the government is going to exercise its enforcement authority in the future and “move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture.”
Although Fiat Chrysler has not admitted any wrongdoing – the company says that any failure to provide early warning data was inadvertent and stemmed from a coding issue – it has agreed to the severe penalties in order to avoid litigation, additional fines and other penalties down the road.
To learn more about the recent fines imposed against Fiat Chrysler, see the Yahoo.com article, “Fiat Chrysler Fined $70 Million for Hiding Deaths from Feds.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is possible that your injuries were caused by a defective auto part like a tire, seatbelt or airbag. The experienced auto accident and product liability lawyers at Andres & Berger will examine the details of your accident and fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.