Fiat Chrysler, already under intense scrutiny for its failure to handle a number of auto recalls in recent years, has faced yet another blow to its flawed recall processes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has accused the automaker of grossly underreporting the number of deaths and injuries that occurred in its vehicles.
Under federal law, automakers are required to report to regulators mechanical errors, injuries and deaths that occur in their vehicles. This provides regulators with early warnings to identify incidents that are caused by design flaws and vehicles that should be recalled.
Because Fiat Chrysler failed to properly report problems, fatal incidents did not get the attention they warranted from the NHTSA. These gaps in reporting mean that Fiat Chrysler may have failed to recall flawed vehicles. The NHTSA considers the company’s failure in this capacity to be significant. The regulator is still investigating the situation to determine exactly how far back this failure extends.
Fiat Chrysler has stated that it takes the issue very seriously and vowed to continue to cooperate with regulators and to make sure that this does not happen again. The announcement comes just two months after the automaker agreed to pay a record-breaking $105 million fine from the NHTSA for its mishandling of 23 separate recalls involving more than 11 million vehicles.
This incident is only the latest in a series of regulatory scandals within the auto industry this year. In September, Volkswagen admitted to skirting emissions regulations through the use of defeat devices. Earlier this year, Takata Corp. issued record-breaking recalls for fatally explosive airbags. And last year General Motors admitted it failed to fix a faulty ignition switches in its vehicles for more than a decade. The product liability lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan believe in holding negligent automakers accountable for their actions. If you have been injured by a defective product, a personal injury lawyer Silver Spring, MD may be able to help you get the justice you deserve.