Though the increase in safety of the vehicles that we drive is apparent, the government believes that harsher fines are in order for automakers that use defective parts. The elimination of defective vehicles should be the ultimate goal for all parties involved and, since the crisis involving the Toyota recall, calls for stiffer regulations are seen by many as the best solution. For their part, car makers have stepped up with increased instances of self-reporting defects and recalls to help increase consumer awareness of potential defective products.
As it stands today the maximum fine for failing to disclose known defects is $17 million per instance, a number that is seen as too low by many in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The administration believes that higher fines are needed to help force businesses to voluntarily comply with safety disclosure regulations. The new penalty if approved by the Senate will raise the maximum fine to a record $250 million.
Recently, such fines have been in the news. Most notably, the NHTSA fined Toyota $32 million in 2010 for failing to promptly notify the agency of defects involving accelerator pedals. The problems revolved around the recall of millions of Toyotas and Lexus cars and trucks that year due to sudden acceleration. Recently, the NHTSA fined BMW $3 million relating to investigations of its 2010 recall of more than 330,000 vehicles.
Since the tremendous media attention surrounding the Toyota acceleration case, American regulators have been under increased pressure to launch more aggressive investigations. The NHTSA has been under pressure to get tough with automakers about their recall and disclosure practices to ensure the safety of American consumers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, automakers are against the proposed increase in fines. They argue that the bill initiating higher fines is a punitive measure that will hamper the industry’s recent recovery. They insist that there are more reasonable alternatives than such draconian fines.
Every time we step into a vehicle we expect to arrive at our destination unharmed, but sadly this is not always the case. Vehicle accidents caused by auto part failures or defective products can result in life-changing physical harm. If the automaker or parts manufacturer was aware of the defects then millions of dollars in damages can result from such accidents. If you or some you know has been injured, you need the help of a Mississippi injury attorney to help protect your rights and recover damages for your injury. Contact Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today toll free at 833-536-5656.
Source: “Carmakers flag problems, but U.S. seeks bigger fines,” by John Crawley, published atReuters.com.