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Found 83 results

  1. Back in 2011, the U.S. Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an audit into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after its handling of the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis. The OIG made ten recommendations on how NHTSA identifies and addresses safety defects such as developing a formal training program and documenting explanations as to why they have missed deadlines. Five years on, NHTSA hasn't put all of those recommendations into practice. According to Reuters, the OIG released a new audit showing the agency had not implemented all of the recommendations agreed upon in 2011 to help protect drivers. Out of the ten recommendations, NHTSA has only put three into practice. The audit showed that NHTSA had not implemented any sort of training for their employees to investigate possible defects. "As a result, (NHTSA's defects investigation) staff may not be sufficiently trained to identify and investigate potential vehicle defects, or ensure that vehicle manufacturers take prompt and effective action," the OIG states in the audit. The OIG also found NHTSA didn't document reasons as to why they delayed completing investigations in a timely fashion, along with retaining safety records. NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge tells Reuters the agency agrees with the recommendations and will apply all of them by June 30th. Source: Reuters, Office of Inspector General View full article
  2. Back in 2011, the U.S. Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an audit into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after its handling of the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis. The OIG made ten recommendations on how NHTSA identifies and addresses safety defects such as developing a formal training program and documenting explanations as to why they have missed deadlines. Five years on, NHTSA hasn't put all of those recommendations into practice. According to Reuters, the OIG released a new audit showing the agency had not implemented all of the recommendations agreed upon in 2011 to help protect drivers. Out of the ten recommendations, NHTSA has only put three into practice. The audit showed that NHTSA had not implemented any sort of training for their employees to investigate possible defects. "As a result, (NHTSA's defects investigation) staff may not be sufficiently trained to identify and investigate potential vehicle defects, or ensure that vehicle manufacturers take prompt and effective action," the OIG states in the audit. The OIG also found NHTSA didn't document reasons as to why they delayed completing investigations in a timely fashion, along with retaining safety records. NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge tells Reuters the agency agrees with the recommendations and will apply all of them by June 30th. Source: Reuters, Office of Inspector General
  3. Not a pleasant day at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the company was handed a $70 Million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to report death and injury claims to regulators. Now this penalty comes from FCA admitting to NHTSA that it failed to provide Early Warning Report data to NHTSA over several years starting in 2003. Now this is required by the TREAD Act of 2000 where an automaker provides claims of death and injuries, warranty claims, consumer complaints and field reports of safety issues as a way to identify a possible defect. Automotive News reports that FCA has brought in a third-party to do an audit of its reporting failures. “FCA US LLC accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance. However, FCA US is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources.” FCA said in a statement. This new fine is in addition to a $70 Million penalty that FCA agreed to pay in July to settle a probe by the U.S. government into a pattern of violations found in FCA’s handling of 23 recalls since 2009. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), NHTSA Press Release is on Page 2
  4. Not a pleasant day at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the company was handed a $70 Million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to report death and injury claims to regulators. Now this penalty comes from FCA admitting to NHTSA that it failed to provide Early Warning Report data to NHTSA over several years starting in 2003. Now this is required by the TREAD Act of 2000 where an automaker provides claims of death and injuries, warranty claims, consumer complaints and field reports of safety issues as a way to identify a possible defect. Automotive News reports that FCA has brought in a third-party to do an audit of its reporting failures. “FCA US LLC accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance. However, FCA US is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources.” FCA said in a statement. This new fine is in addition to a $70 Million penalty that FCA agreed to pay in July to settle a probe by the U.S. government into a pattern of violations found in FCA’s handling of 23 recalls since 2009. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), NHTSA Press Release is on Page 2 View full article
  5. The U.S. Congress is voting on a new highway bill that if passed, would bring some much needed money and changes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Automotive News reports the new bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would be the first long-term highway plan in a decade. If passed, the bill would provide roughly $300 billion for roads, bridges, and mass-transit projects. The bill would also increase NHTSA's budget for defect investigations from $10 million a year to $30 million. But for NHTSA to get the increase in the budget, they would need to implement a number of reforms outlined by Transportation Department’s inspector general. Along with the increase in the defect investigation budget, FAST would some much-needed changes in how recalls and defects are dealt with. The maximum fine for safety violations will increase from $35 million to $105 million Employees who report on potentially dangerous safety violations will be rewarded If there is a financial penalty put on an automaker or supplier, a whistleblower could get up to 30 percent of the penalty Automakers will need to keep safety data for 10 years (up from the current 5) and provide part numbers for defective parts to NHTSA Dealers will be required to notify customers of an open recall Rental car companies will not be allowed to rent out vehicles that have an open recall States would be given funds to notify owners who renew their vehicle registration that a recall is due Currently, the bill has bipartisan support and the White House announced that President Obama would sign the bill if passed. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  6. The U.S. Congress is voting on a new highway bill that if passed, would bring some much needed money and changes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Automotive News reports the new bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would be the first long-term highway plan in a decade. If passed, the bill would provide roughly $300 billion for roads, bridges, and mass-transit projects. The bill would also increase NHTSA's budget for defect investigations from $10 million a year to $30 million. But for NHTSA to get the increase in the budget, they would need to implement a number of reforms outlined by Transportation Department’s inspector general. Along with the increase in the defect investigation budget, FAST would some much-needed changes in how recalls and defects are dealt with. The maximum fine for safety violations will increase from $35 million to $105 million Employees who report on potentially dangerous safety violations will be rewarded If there is a financial penalty put on an automaker or supplier, a whistleblower could get up to 30 percent of the penalty Automakers will need to keep safety data for 10 years (up from the current 5) and provide part numbers for defective parts to NHTSA Dealers will be required to notify customers of an open recall Rental car companies will not be allowed to rent out vehicles that have an open recall States would be given funds to notify owners who renew their vehicle registration that a recall is due Currently, the bill has bipartisan support and the White House announced that President Obama would sign the bill if passed. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  7. After months of pressure from the U.S. Government and a number of recalls from automakers, Japanese supplier Takata agreed to declare that its airbag inflators in nearly 34 million vehicles are defective. The announcement was made today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a press conference. “Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective, That changes today,” said Foxx. The problem with Takata's airbags deals with propellant exploding with too much force and sends dangerous metal fragments flying. This problem has been linked to 6 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Scarily, the root cause of the problem hasn't been found at this time - though officials link the problem to high humidity and moisture exposure. The Detroit News reports that Takata will announce that it has filed 4 defect reports with U.S. auto safety officials stating that 33.8 million vehicles have defective driver and passenger air bag inflators. This is double the amount vehicles already recalled by automakers since 2013. It could mean that this air bag problem could mark the largest U.S. recall of any consumer product, since the Tylenol poison scare in 1982. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News
  8. After months of pressure from the U.S. Government and a number of recalls from automakers, Japanese supplier Takata agreed to declare that its airbag inflators in nearly 34 million vehicles are defective. The announcement was made today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a press conference. “Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective, That changes today,” said Foxx. The problem with Takata's airbags deals with propellant exploding with too much force and sends dangerous metal fragments flying. This problem has been linked to 6 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Scarily, the root cause of the problem hasn't been found at this time - though officials link the problem to high humidity and moisture exposure. The Detroit News reports that Takata will announce that it has filed 4 defect reports with U.S. auto safety officials stating that 33.8 million vehicles have defective driver and passenger air bag inflators. This is double the amount vehicles already recalled by automakers since 2013. It could mean that this air bag problem could mark the largest U.S. recall of any consumer product, since the Tylenol poison scare in 1982. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News View full article
  9. he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have entered a consent agreement that will see FCA paying a record $105 million civil penalty after the Government investigated 23 different recalls into the company since 2009. “Today’s action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward. This civil penalty puts manufacturers on notice that the department will act when they do not take their obligations to repair safety defects seriously,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As part of the consent agreement, FCA admitted that it "failed to timely provide an effective remedy” in three recall campaigns, and that it failed to comply with “various reporting requirements” of U.S. laws governing recalls in a timely manner. The $105 million civil penalty is made up of a $70 million payment to NHTSA, $20 million to revamping their efforts in terms of safety, and $15 million in additional penalties if FCA doesn't meet the terms. Along with the penalty, FCA will also have to buy back more than 500,000 vehicles - mostly Ram trucks - due to defective suspension parts that could cause drivers to lose control. Also, owners of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs with rear-mounted gas tanks will be able to trade their vehicles for above-market value or take a take a “financial incentive” to have a trailer hitch installed. The final part of the agreement will see FCA bring in a independent monitor that will monitor issues at the company for the next three years. "We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices," FCA said in a statement. Source: The Detroit News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Press Release is on Page 2 FCA US Reaches Consensual Resolution of NHTSA Investigation on 23 Recall Campaigns July 26, 2015 , London, UK - FCA US LLC (FCA US) today announced it has entered into a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which resolves the issues raised by NHTSA with respect to FCA US’s execution of 23 recall campaigns in NHTSA’s Special Order issued to FCA US on May 22, 2015 and further addressed at a NHTSA public hearing held on July 2, 2015. The consent order includes an admission by FCA US that in three specified campaigns it had failed to timely provide an effective remedy, and that it did not timely comply with various reporting requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Pursuant to the consent order, FCA US has agreed to make a $70 million cash payment to NHTSA and to spend $20 million on industry and consumer outreach activities and incentives to enhance certain recall and service campaign completion rates. An additional $15 million payment will be payable by FCA US if it fails to comply with certain terms of the consent order. FCA US has also agreed to undertake specific actions to improve its recall execution. The consent order will be supervised by an independent monitor and will remain in place for three years subject to NHTSA’s right to extend for an additional year in the event of FCA US' noncompliance with the consent order. FCA US LLC Consent Order Response July 26, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC acknowledges the admissions in its Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We also accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us. We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices.
  10. he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have entered a consent agreement that will see FCA paying a record $105 million civil penalty after the Government investigated 23 different recalls into the company since 2009. “Today’s action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward. This civil penalty puts manufacturers on notice that the department will act when they do not take their obligations to repair safety defects seriously,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As part of the consent agreement, FCA admitted that it "failed to timely provide an effective remedy” in three recall campaigns, and that it failed to comply with “various reporting requirements” of U.S. laws governing recalls in a timely manner. The $105 million civil penalty is made up of a $70 million payment to NHTSA, $20 million to revamping their efforts in terms of safety, and $15 million in additional penalties if FCA doesn't meet the terms. Along with the penalty, FCA will also have to buy back more than 500,000 vehicles - mostly Ram trucks - due to defective suspension parts that could cause drivers to lose control. Also, owners of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs with rear-mounted gas tanks will be able to trade their vehicles for above-market value or take a take a “financial incentive” to have a trailer hitch installed. The final part of the agreement will see FCA bring in a independent monitor that will monitor issues at the company for the next three years. "We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices," FCA said in a statement. Source: The Detroit News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Press Release is on Page 2 FCA US Reaches Consensual Resolution of NHTSA Investigation on 23 Recall Campaigns July 26, 2015 , London, UK - FCA US LLC (FCA US) today announced it has entered into a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which resolves the issues raised by NHTSA with respect to FCA US’s execution of 23 recall campaigns in NHTSA’s Special Order issued to FCA US on May 22, 2015 and further addressed at a NHTSA public hearing held on July 2, 2015. The consent order includes an admission by FCA US that in three specified campaigns it had failed to timely provide an effective remedy, and that it did not timely comply with various reporting requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Pursuant to the consent order, FCA US has agreed to make a $70 million cash payment to NHTSA and to spend $20 million on industry and consumer outreach activities and incentives to enhance certain recall and service campaign completion rates. An additional $15 million payment will be payable by FCA US if it fails to comply with certain terms of the consent order. FCA US has also agreed to undertake specific actions to improve its recall execution. The consent order will be supervised by an independent monitor and will remain in place for three years subject to NHTSA’s right to extend for an additional year in the event of FCA US' noncompliance with the consent order. FCA US LLC Consent Order Response July 26, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC acknowledges the admissions in its Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We also accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us. We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices. View full article
  11. While General Motors has gotten most of the blame in the ignition switch fiasco, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't getting away scot free. The New York Times reports that the Department of Transportation released two internal documents revealing a series of failings by NHTSA. One of those failings was the administration not paying sufficient attention to a Wisconsin state trooper’s report in 2007 which suggested that the ignition switch played a key role in a fatal accident. The reports go on to say that NHTSA didn't use their full power to hold GM accountable in terms of this problem. “There needs to be a complete overhaul of this failing agency. The results of this report are long overdue,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). NHTSA has begun to make a number of changes in light of these reports. They include, Put manufacturers “on notice” about potential defects as soon they identified any troubling cases. Institute a 'Risk Control' program that better aligns different sections of NHTSA and encourage more sharing Be monitored by a group of outside experts including former officials of the National Transportation Safety Board and NASA “The G.M. experience changed the culture here. What that means is challenge the information you’re getting, and challenge the assumptions you are pursuing,” said NHTSA administrator Mark R. Rosekind. Still some people believe NHTSA needs to go farther. “It still soft-pedals why they have gone from one defect crisis to another,” said Sean E. Kane of the consulting firm Safety Research and Strategies. “What is missing is any mention of the importance of transparency.” Source: The New York Times View full article
  12. While General Motors has gotten most of the blame in the ignition switch fiasco, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't getting away scot free. The New York Times reports that the Department of Transportation released two internal documents revealing a series of failings by NHTSA. One of those failings was the administration not paying sufficient attention to a Wisconsin state trooper’s report in 2007 which suggested that the ignition switch played a key role in a fatal accident. The reports go on to say that NHTSA didn't use their full power to hold GM accountable in terms of this problem. “There needs to be a complete overhaul of this failing agency. The results of this report are long overdue,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). NHTSA has begun to make a number of changes in light of these reports. They include, Put manufacturers “on notice” about potential defects as soon they identified any troubling cases. Institute a 'Risk Control' program that better aligns different sections of NHTSA and encourage more sharing Be monitored by a group of outside experts including former officials of the National Transportation Safety Board and NASA “The G.M. experience changed the culture here. What that means is challenge the information you’re getting, and challenge the assumptions you are pursuing,” said NHTSA administrator Mark R. Rosekind. Still some people believe NHTSA needs to go farther. “It still soft-pedals why they have gone from one defect crisis to another,” said Sean E. Kane of the consulting firm Safety Research and Strategies. “What is missing is any mention of the importance of transparency.” Source: The New York Times
  13. Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be holding a public hearing to probe Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' handling of 20 different recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013. The agency is concerned about the completion rates and other issues on these recalls. But FCA believes this hearing should be skipped. In a 19-page response to questions from NHTSA that was released yesterday, the company argues that its overall recall completion rate is "nearly the best in the industry, with 77 percent. The response goes onto state that they are compliant with existing regulations and are in the process of implementing new programs to improve their completion rate. FCA says their way “to review and identify with NHTSA input, and implement changes based on the learnings obviate the need for a hearing.” But NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind tells The Detroit News that the hearing is still on. “Twenty recalls are a problem — 10 million vehicles. There’s a pattern here of things we’re concerned about. And they weren’t just little things — they were big things including major safety issues related to fire, door latches that could open up when people were driving. It’s not just, ‘Oh, they were late on something.’ If they didn’t start, it was late, it means all that time people are at risk. And they told us something different,” said Rosekind. Source: The Detroit News
  14. Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be holding a public hearing to probe Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' handling of 20 different recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013. The agency is concerned about the completion rates and other issues on these recalls. But FCA believes this hearing should be skipped. In a 19-page response to questions from NHTSA that was released yesterday, the company argues that its overall recall completion rate is "nearly the best in the industry, with 77 percent. The response goes onto state that they are compliant with existing regulations and are in the process of implementing new programs to improve their completion rate. FCA says their way “to review and identify with NHTSA input, and implement changes based on the learnings obviate the need for a hearing.” But NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind tells The Detroit News that the hearing is still on. “Twenty recalls are a problem — 10 million vehicles. There’s a pattern here of things we’re concerned about. And they weren’t just little things — they were big things including major safety issues related to fire, door latches that could open up when people were driving. It’s not just, ‘Oh, they were late on something.’ If they didn’t start, it was late, it means all that time people are at risk. And they told us something different,” said Rosekind. Source: The Detroit News View full article
  15. In light of the GM Ignition Switch and Takata airbag recalls, you would think owners would be aware whether or not their vehicle has a notice and take it in to be repaired. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Bloomberg reports that only two-thirds of vehicles get repaired. Even more worrying is a third of vehicles under a recall notice aren't repaired within 18 months. “Recalls are only successful, and they only save lives, if they end up getting the cars fixed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. So how do you get owners to repair vehicles? Well that's what NHTSA and automakers will be talking about today at meeting in Washington D.C. with the focus on improving the getting the word to get vehicles fixed. General Motors has a fair bit of experience on notifying owners in the wake of ignition switch recall. The company tried redesigned mailings, did outreach on a number of online platforms such as YouTube and Twitter; and even offered loaner cars. Yet, there are still a fair number of vehicles needing to be fixed. “Awareness doesn’t mean action,” said Julie Heisel, GM’s director of customer relationship management. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  16. In light of the GM Ignition Switch and Takata airbag recalls, you would think owners would be aware whether or not their vehicle has a notice and take it in to be repaired. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Bloomberg reports that only two-thirds of vehicles get repaired. Even more worrying is a third of vehicles under a recall notice aren't repaired within 18 months. “Recalls are only successful, and they only save lives, if they end up getting the cars fixed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. So how do you get owners to repair vehicles? Well that's what NHTSA and automakers will be talking about today at meeting in Washington D.C. with the focus on improving the getting the word to get vehicles fixed. General Motors has a fair bit of experience on notifying owners in the wake of ignition switch recall. The company tried redesigned mailings, did outreach on a number of online platforms such as YouTube and Twitter; and even offered loaner cars. Yet, there are still a fair number of vehicles needing to be fixed. “Awareness doesn’t mean action,” said Julie Heisel, GM’s director of customer relationship management. Source: Bloomberg
  17. 2014 will go down as the year as the recall, but also the year where many glaring issues of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were made evident - mostly due to the GM ignition switch mess. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Tuesday couldn’t keep pace at current staffing levels with 75,000 complaints coming in every year. “It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year,” said Foxx. Now there appears to be change in the air. The Detroit News reports that President Barrack Obama is proposing to increase NHTSA's budget for its Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million. The increase would add NHTSA to add add 57 people to a staff of more than 100 and also use stronger data mining and monitoring tools to detect problems faster. “This is about giving NHTSA the tools it needs,” said Foxx. However, some folks on the Senate Commerce Committee isn't fully on board with a budget increase. “We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency,” said Senator John Thune, R-S.D, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Others think the increase is a step in the right direction. NHTSA needs to do something and obviously they are getting a lot of complaints. (NHTSA’s) ability to field all of the complaints has been difficult in the last couple of years — and people paid a price for that,” said Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev. Source: The Detroit News, 2 View full article
  18. 2014 will go down as the year as the recall, but also the year where many glaring issues of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were made evident - mostly due to the GM ignition switch mess. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Tuesday couldn’t keep pace at current staffing levels with 75,000 complaints coming in every year. “It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year,” said Foxx. Now there appears to be change in the air. The Detroit News reports that President Barrack Obama is proposing to increase NHTSA's budget for its Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million. The increase would add NHTSA to add add 57 people to a staff of more than 100 and also use stronger data mining and monitoring tools to detect problems faster. “This is about giving NHTSA the tools it needs,” said Foxx. However, some folks on the Senate Commerce Committee isn't fully on board with a budget increase. “We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency,” said Senator John Thune, R-S.D, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Others think the increase is a step in the right direction. NHTSA needs to do something and obviously they are getting a lot of complaints. (NHTSA’s) ability to field all of the complaints has been difficult in the last couple of years — and people paid a price for that,” said Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev. Source: The Detroit News, 2
  19. This year will likely go down as the one with the most recalls for automobiles. From ignition switches that can easily turn to the accessory or off position, to peeling safety labels, automakers in the U.S. have recalled almost 60 million vehicles. With the high number of vehicles being recalled, people are calling for the recall system to be fixed. But no one can agree on how to fix it. "A recall's a recall, and that's a problem. There needs to be a sophistication of how serious is the recall? And that has to be really clear to a customer. I think the industry is beginning to do that," said Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development at the LA Auto Show last month. The issue at hand is defining a severity level for a recall. At the moment, there is really no difference between a recall for a missing sticker or a slipping ignition switch. Now the industry has began to solve this problem by categorizing recalls as "safety" or "noncompliance". But they still fall under the recall umbrella which means an automaker has to send a notice out. The problem with this is that some car owners either mistake it for junk mail or pay no attention to it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the, average recall completion rate in the U.S. is about 75 percent each year. But for older vehicles, the number drops. The worry is that with the number of recalls that have been happening this past year could cause less people to get their cars fixed. "Whether it's an ignition cylinder or a sticker on a door, a recall is a recall. I do worry that that fatigue sets in and consumers may not act as quickly as they should on big safety issues," said Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz. The idea has been floated around of classifying recalls by severity. But the idea was shot down by former head of NHTSA David Stickland last year. "There is one standard for safety that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration follows and enforces. We deal with unreasonable risk to safety. We don't gradate them. If there is a judgment that it is an unreasonable risk, it's an unreasonable risk and it needs to be repaired. The notion that there should be some gradation of unreasonable risk is frankly counter to the policy for safety, and frankly, dangerous," Strickland said to a Senate panel last year. Another idea that has been floating around is withholding vehicle registrations until outstanding recalls are fixed. "It clearly is the most effective way to go," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the advocacy group Center for Auto Safety. Ditlow goes onto say that this method is used in Germany and it achieves 100 percent in recall fixes. The problem with this idea is that each state controls vehicle registration. That puts the burden of responsibility on the state and not the national government. There's also the problems of tracking the fixes and delays in parts availability. Source: The Detroit News
  20. This year will likely go down as the one with the most recalls for automobiles. From ignition switches that can easily turn to the accessory or off position, to peeling safety labels, automakers in the U.S. have recalled almost 60 million vehicles. With the high number of vehicles being recalled, people are calling for the recall system to be fixed. But no one can agree on how to fix it. "A recall's a recall, and that's a problem. There needs to be a sophistication of how serious is the recall? And that has to be really clear to a customer. I think the industry is beginning to do that," said Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development at the LA Auto Show last month. The issue at hand is defining a severity level for a recall. At the moment, there is really no difference between a recall for a missing sticker or a slipping ignition switch. Now the industry has began to solve this problem by categorizing recalls as "safety" or "noncompliance". But they still fall under the recall umbrella which means an automaker has to send a notice out. The problem with this is that some car owners either mistake it for junk mail or pay no attention to it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the, average recall completion rate in the U.S. is about 75 percent each year. But for older vehicles, the number drops. The worry is that with the number of recalls that have been happening this past year could cause less people to get their cars fixed. "Whether it's an ignition cylinder or a sticker on a door, a recall is a recall. I do worry that that fatigue sets in and consumers may not act as quickly as they should on big safety issues," said Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz. The idea has been floated around of classifying recalls by severity. But the idea was shot down by former head of NHTSA David Stickland last year. "There is one standard for safety that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration follows and enforces. We deal with unreasonable risk to safety. We don't gradate them. If there is a judgment that it is an unreasonable risk, it's an unreasonable risk and it needs to be repaired. The notion that there should be some gradation of unreasonable risk is frankly counter to the policy for safety, and frankly, dangerous," Strickland said to a Senate panel last year. Another idea that has been floating around is withholding vehicle registrations until outstanding recalls are fixed. "It clearly is the most effective way to go," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the advocacy group Center for Auto Safety. Ditlow goes onto say that this method is used in Germany and it achieves 100 percent in recall fixes. The problem with this idea is that each state controls vehicle registration. That puts the burden of responsibility on the state and not the national government. There's also the problems of tracking the fixes and delays in parts availability. Source: The Detroit News View full article
  21. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a $3.5 million fine for Ferrari as it failed to comply with oversight requirements. The agency announced today that the Italian sports car maker had not submitted early warning reports for the past three years. These reports are important for NHTSA as it helps them identify potential or existing safety problems. Federal law requires manufacturers these reports quarterly. Previously, Ferrari was qualified as a a small-volume manufacturer which exempted them from providing these reports. However, Ferrari was still required to notify the agency of any fatal accidents involving its vehicles, something it didn't do for three accidents in this time. Also, Ferrari lost its small-volume manufacturer exemption when it became part of Fiat in 2011. "There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Ferrari spokesperson Krista Florin said in a statement that the missed reports were unintended, and that the automaker had implemented new procedures to "ensure full compliance in the future." Source: Reuters, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 NHTSA Fines Ferrari $3.5 Million for Failing to Submit Early Warning Reports Automaker Did Not Submit Required Safety Information for Three Years WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that Ferrari will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty and has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements as set forth in a Consent Order for failing to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues. Federal law requires large manufacturers and affiliates of large manufacturers to submit comprehensive EWR reports on a quarterly basis, in order to provide notice to the Department of potential safety concerns. Ferrari, an affiliate of Chrysler, admitted that it violated the law when it failed to submit required reports to NHTSA over a three-year period, and failed to report three fatal incidents. Until Fiat (which includes Ferrari since 2011) acquired Chrysler, Ferrari qualified as a small volume manufacturer and was not required to file quarterly EWR reports. However, while Ferrari was not required to file quarterly reports, it must report fatal incidents nonetheless. "There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. In addition to the civil penalty, the Consent Order requires the automaker to improve its processes for EWR reporting, to train personnel on the EWR requirements, to communicate these improvements to NHTSA, and to retroactively submit all EWR reports. The Consent Order is immediately enforceable in federal court if any terms are violated. "The information included in early warning reports is an essential tool in tracking down dangerous defects in vehicles," added NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. "Early warning reports are like NHTSA's radar, helping us to find unsafe vehicles and make sure they are fixed. Companies that violate the law and fail to comply will be subject to comparable swift NHTSA enforcement action." EWR reports are required under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2000. The law requires quarterly reporting of: production information; incidents involving death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and, copies of field reports involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover.
  22. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a $3.5 million fine for Ferrari as it failed to comply with oversight requirements. The agency announced today that the Italian sports car maker had not submitted early warning reports for the past three years. These reports are important for NHTSA as it helps them identify potential or existing safety problems. Federal law requires manufacturers these reports quarterly. Previously, Ferrari was qualified as a a small-volume manufacturer which exempted them from providing these reports. However, Ferrari was still required to notify the agency of any fatal accidents involving its vehicles, something it didn't do for three accidents in this time. Also, Ferrari lost its small-volume manufacturer exemption when it became part of Fiat in 2011. "There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Ferrari spokesperson Krista Florin said in a statement that the missed reports were unintended, and that the automaker had implemented new procedures to "ensure full compliance in the future." Source: Reuters, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 NHTSA Fines Ferrari $3.5 Million for Failing to Submit Early Warning Reports Automaker Did Not Submit Required Safety Information for Three Years WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that Ferrari will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty and has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements as set forth in a Consent Order for failing to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues. Federal law requires large manufacturers and affiliates of large manufacturers to submit comprehensive EWR reports on a quarterly basis, in order to provide notice to the Department of potential safety concerns. Ferrari, an affiliate of Chrysler, admitted that it violated the law when it failed to submit required reports to NHTSA over a three-year period, and failed to report three fatal incidents. Until Fiat (which includes Ferrari since 2011) acquired Chrysler, Ferrari qualified as a small volume manufacturer and was not required to file quarterly EWR reports. However, while Ferrari was not required to file quarterly reports, it must report fatal incidents nonetheless. "There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. In addition to the civil penalty, the Consent Order requires the automaker to improve its processes for EWR reporting, to train personnel on the EWR requirements, to communicate these improvements to NHTSA, and to retroactively submit all EWR reports. The Consent Order is immediately enforceable in federal court if any terms are violated. "The information included in early warning reports is an essential tool in tracking down dangerous defects in vehicles," added NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. "Early warning reports are like NHTSA's radar, helping us to find unsafe vehicles and make sure they are fixed. Companies that violate the law and fail to comply will be subject to comparable swift NHTSA enforcement action." EWR reports are required under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2000. The law requires quarterly reporting of: production information; incidents involving death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and, copies of field reports involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover. View full article
  23. It was three months ago that General Motors published a scathing report on its handling on the ignition switch problem. Now its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's turn. This morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a 44 page report on NHTSA's handling of GM's ignition switch problem. The report was based on the review of millions of pages of records and interviews with key NHTSA officials and found that a series of critical mistakes and “ample information” already on hand meant that the agency should have found the problem sooner. “Both GM and NHTSA had ample information necessary to identify this defect. It was a failure to process, share and utilize that information within each entity that enabled this safety defect to persist,” the report states. “NHTSA also lacked the focus and rigor expected of a federal safety regulator. The agency’s repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report the agency commissioned — is inexcusable. This was compounded by NHTSA staff’s lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the evolution of vehicle safety systems they regulate." A key example of this was found by Yahoo's Motoramic. Back in 2006, an accident in Wisconsin that involved a Chevrolet Cobalt claimed the lives of two boys. Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Keith Young who was investigating the crash looked into the data from vehicle and was able to pull up a dealer bulletin about certain GM models having ignitions that could be bumped into the accessory position. In a report filled in February 2007, Young said the ignition was switched into the 'accessory position', thus leading the Cobalt's airbags not to deploy. The report showed that NHTSA officials had read the report, but didn't do anything there after. This report also says NHTSA officials didn't fully comprehend how airbags and that investigators believed that the air bag systems were designed not to go off under certain off-road conditions. "Agency staff were blinded by outdated perceptions about how air bag systems operated. Even as manufacturers began installing advanced air bag systems in response to new federal standards, NHTSA investigators lacked a fundamental understanding of how these new air bag systems functioned. For a decade, ODI investigators evaluated air bag concerns based on their knowledge of first generation air bag systems," the report continued. "They assumed that advanced air bag systems, like their predecessors, operated from an independent energy reserve and were completely unaware of the relationship between power mode and air bag systems. Only after the GM recall, in February 2014, did ODI investigators realize the chasm in their understanding of air bag technology," the report says. The report also takes mentions how NHTSA employees would defect and blame others, eerily similar to GM's report. “NHTSA likewise had critical information in its possession which pointed to this defect. Whether the information was not understood, overlooked or lost in organizational stove-pipes, the agency’s failure to followup on this information contributed to NHTSA’s inability to identify this defect. The agency would not tolerate similar conduct from a manufacturer. The NHTSA Shrug: the agency does not hold itself to the same standard of accountability as those it regulates. There is a tendency to deflect blame and point the finger at others rather than accept responsibility and learn from its own failures. It is no different than the “GM salute.” What happens next for NHTSA is up in the air at moment. Today, federal auto regulators will testify to the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee to discuss their role in the GM ignition switch recall and what can be done to improve NHTSA's role. Source: The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Yahoo Motoramic William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  24. It was three months ago that General Motors published a scathing report on its handling on the ignition switch problem. Now its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's turn. This morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a 44 page report on NHTSA's handling of GM's ignition switch problem. The report was based on the review of millions of pages of records and interviews with key NHTSA officials and found that a series of critical mistakes and “ample information” already on hand meant that the agency should have found the problem sooner. “Both GM and NHTSA had ample information necessary to identify this defect. It was a failure to process, share and utilize that information within each entity that enabled this safety defect to persist,” the report states. “NHTSA also lacked the focus and rigor expected of a federal safety regulator. The agency’s repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report the agency commissioned — is inexcusable. This was compounded by NHTSA staff’s lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the evolution of vehicle safety systems they regulate." A key example of this was found by Yahoo's Motoramic. Back in 2006, an accident in Wisconsin that involved a Chevrolet Cobalt claimed the lives of two boys. Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Keith Young who was investigating the crash looked into the data from vehicle and was able to pull up a dealer bulletin about certain GM models having ignitions that could be bumped into the accessory position. In a report filled in February 2007, Young said the ignition was switched into the 'accessory position', thus leading the Cobalt's airbags not to deploy. The report showed that NHTSA officials had read the report, but didn't do anything there after. This report also says NHTSA officials didn't fully comprehend how airbags and that investigators believed that the air bag systems were designed not to go off under certain off-road conditions. "Agency staff were blinded by outdated perceptions about how air bag systems operated. Even as manufacturers began installing advanced air bag systems in response to new federal standards, NHTSA investigators lacked a fundamental understanding of how these new air bag systems functioned. For a decade, ODI investigators evaluated air bag concerns based on their knowledge of first generation air bag systems," the report continued. "They assumed that advanced air bag systems, like their predecessors, operated from an independent energy reserve and were completely unaware of the relationship between power mode and air bag systems. Only after the GM recall, in February 2014, did ODI investigators realize the chasm in their understanding of air bag technology," the report says. The report also takes mentions how NHTSA employees would defect and blame others, eerily similar to GM's report. “NHTSA likewise had critical information in its possession which pointed to this defect. Whether the information was not understood, overlooked or lost in organizational stove-pipes, the agency’s failure to followup on this information contributed to NHTSA’s inability to identify this defect. The agency would not tolerate similar conduct from a manufacturer. The NHTSA Shrug: the agency does not hold itself to the same standard of accountability as those it regulates. There is a tendency to deflect blame and point the finger at others rather than accept responsibility and learn from its own failures. It is no different than the “GM salute.” What happens next for NHTSA is up in the air at moment. Today, federal auto regulators will testify to the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee to discuss their role in the GM ignition switch recall and what can be done to improve NHTSA's role. Source: The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Yahoo Motoramic William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  25. General Motors isn't the only automaker that is dealing with problems with the ignition switch. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced it is investigating the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Dodge Journey from the 2008 to 2010 model years due to ignition switch problems. NHTSA says they have been receiving complaints that the key can can shift from the “run” to the “accessory” mode while the vehicle is on the move. "While in this intermediate position, harsh roadway conditions or driver interaction with the ignition key can cause the switch to move to the ACC position which may disable the frontal air bags in a crash where deployment is warranted," NHTSA wrote in a investigation notice. NHTSA suspects a spring in the ignition switch is the likely culprit as it may may over-travel and leave the key between the 'run' and 'accessory' positions. Chrysler has issued a recall before back in 2011, but only for vehicles built within a ten-month period between 2009 and 2010. However, NHTSA has continued receiving complaints from people who had their vehicles serviced in the original recall. Also, owners of 2008 and 2009 vehicles have reported the same problem. In a separate investigation, NHTSA is looking into the 525,000 Jeep Commanders from the 2006 – 2007 model years, and the Grand Cherokee from 2005 – 2006 model years due to drivers bumping the key, causing it to be knocked into the accessory position. Chrysler says it will fully cooperate with NHTSA's investigation. Source: Auto Guide William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article

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