Since Toyota faced high fines for concealing information related to safety issues in several of its vehicles in 2010, automakers have been more forward with information related to possible defects and in issuing auto product recalls. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering increasing the maximum fines possible in such cases.
The increase in fines will have to pass through Congress and be signed by the President to go into effect. A bill introduced recently in the Senate would increase the maximum fine to $250 million. Currently, the maximum fine is $17 million per failure to report. Toyota received a total fine of $32 million in 2010 for two separate instances in which lawmakers say the company failed to report safety defects, with deadly consequences.
Supporters of the bill say that increasing the fines would better reflect the size of automakers’ budgets, creating a real deterrent to withholding necessary safety information. They note that, while $17 million does not represent a real hardship for most auto companies to pay, $250 million would. Opponents of the increase, however, say that $17 million is an adequate deterrent, and that raising the amount would put an unnecessary burden on automakers. Opponents also note that, with millions of vehicles on U.S. roads, automakers already face a hefty responsibility to make cars as safe as possible, one that they take seriously.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle part, the experienced Southfield product liability attorneys at Lipton Law can help. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation about your car accident injury. Our number is (248) 557-1688.