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Congress suggesting overall to safety legislation, empowering NHTSA

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Congress suggesting overall to safety legislation, empowering NHTSA

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, has suggested the necessity for reform in automotive safety regulations. Klobuchar believes reform is necessary in order to ensure the safety of vehicles for Americans, and part of the solution may ride in giving NHTSA more power authority to ensure safety.

Senator Klobuchar, of Minnesota, has long been known for taking tough positions on consumer related issues, according to the Star Tribune, and now she has raised questions about NHTSA’s ability to properly regulate the automotive industry.

During a committee meeting weeks ago, Klobuchar suggested that the ability to fine only $16.375 million against automakers was insufficient.

“One of the things that I’ve learned is you can assess fines for this kind of behavior, but those penalties could be as high as, like, $16 million for a related series of violations,” Klobuchar told transportation secretary Ray Lahood.

Klobuchar continued, “It sounds like a lot of money, but when Toyota is bragging about saving $100 million by basically negotiating a resolution to a safety defect that isn’t a recall, is that enough money? Should there be more of an ability to assess fines? And would this be a useful tool.”

Klobuchar went on to accept that Toyota will also potentially face other costs associated with its illegal behavior, including the plethora of pending lawsuits. The senator suggested that automakers such as Toyota may get the wrong impression, viewing the $16.375 million maximum fine as a “cost of doing business” in America, much like how luxury automakers see EPA-related fines for fleet-wide fuel economy standards.

“I don’t think that overall that’s how they view this because they are in huge trouble otherwise with the public and with litigation,” Klobuchar said. “But that’s why you want to have the ability to use larger fines.”



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