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NHTSA: Fiat Chrysler Under-Reported Vehicular Deaths

The AP reports that the NHTSA said Fiat Chrysler failed to disclose “some deaths, injuries and other information to the agency as required by law.” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx “told reporters he will call a meeting in Washington with all auto industry CEOs to address a long list of failures to meet reporting requirements. In the past several years, the agency has fined Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, Ford and others for failing to follow the law,” the article reports. “We need to have confidence the information we get is real and accurate information,” Foxx said. NHTSA “said its investigators found a discrepancy in reporting by Fiat Chrysler and notified the company in late July,” according to the article. “This represents a significant failure to meet a manufacturer’s safety responsibilities,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “We’re still trying to uncover how deep the under-reporting is and how far back it goes,” Foxx said.

CNN Money reports that the Fiat Chrysler’s failure to notify the NHTSA resulted in fatal accidents not getting the attention they needed. “The news is obviously troubling,” Secretary Foxx said, adding, “NHTSA is still trying to uncover how far back this goes.” The article points to the TREAD Act, which “requires car companies to notify NHTSA every three months of accidents that caused injuries or deaths” and of mechanical problems. “NHTSA will take appropriate action after gathering additional information on the scope and causes of this failure,” said Rosekind. Fiat Chrysler for its part said it “takes this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not reoccur.”

The New York Times reports that Secretary Foxx said Fiat Chrysler’s admission is “troubling,” and “said it underscored the need for a meeting with automakers to emphasize the importance of safety reporting rules.” Foxx said, “We’re giving strong consideration to calling everybody in.” He explained, “There are a number of issues on the table right now that merit discussion across many of the manufacturers at this point.” New penalties could be levied against the company after it admitted to under-reporting, which was “discovered in an internal review tied to the company’s recent $105 million settlement over its handling of recalls.”

The Detroit News reports that Secretary Foxx on Tuesday said that “It’s time to bring everybody in here and have a deeper conversation about go-forwards.” He added, “There are a number of issues on the table right now that probably merit discussion across many of the manufacturers. And one of them is, ‘Look folks, we have millions of people who rely on what you make every day to get from everywhere from work to putting their most precious cargo — their kids — in cars, and we need to have confidence that the information that we get is real and accurate.’” Foxx said, “We’ve fined heavily where we can. We’ve also added in on top of that consent agreements that give us greater authorities to peer behind the veil.” He has called on Congress to increase “maximum fines for failing to recall vehicles to a maximum $300 million from the current $35 million,” the article reports. Foxx said he has yet to invite automakers.

The Hill reports that in light of the recent “revelations that German automaker Volkswagen has been cheating Federal pollution emission standards to trick regulators into believing their cars are more fuel efficient than they actually are.” Foxx “said Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which made the allegations against Volkswagen, is taking the lead on punishing them for their violations, which VW has admitted,” the article reports. “Because it deals with emissions, the EPA is rightly in the lead on this,” he said, adding that the NHTSA is backing the EPA’s efforts. “We’re playing an assist role here and following the lead of the colleagues at the EPA,” Foxx continued.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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