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Fiat Chrysler Fines Reach $175 Million for Failure to Comply with TREAD Act

A few days ago, we reported that the NHTSA was escalating its investigation into electrical problems discovered on Fiat Chrysler's Jeep Wrangler. Now the NHTSA is hitting FCA with a $70 million fine, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US HQ 1 photo
The action taken by the National Traffic Safety Administration is unrelated to the Wrangler. It's a fine for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles withholding information. To be more specific, FCA has under-reported crash, death and injury data.

"Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement. [...] We need FCA and other automakers to move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture, and when they fall short, we will continue to exercise our enforcement authority to set them on the right path," says US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx.

The NHTSA has already exercised its enforcement authority against FCA this year, to the tune of a $105 million fine. The automaker justified the delays in passing on information by citing coding problems in its reporting system. Another $35 million in deferred penalties will be imposed on FCA if the under-reporting isn't dealt with.

Since 2000, the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act (TREAD) forces automakers to report data on crashes, deaths, lawsuits, warranty claims and more. Since 2014, the NHTSA has imposed fines on five manufacturers, for failure to meet the requirements set by TREAD.

Honda paid $70 million in January for not informing the NHTSA about 1,700 reports of deaths and injuries. At that time, it was the highest fine ever dictated by the agency. Automakers paid over $126 million worth of penalties in 2014. And yet the risk of having to pay huge fines hasn't deterred some companies from breaking the rules.

Volkswagen admitted it cheated on emissions tests by using modified software in no less than 11 million vehicles sold worldwide. Last year, General Motors confirmed that it had knowledge of a deadly fault with some ignition switches and didn't do anything about it for over 10 years, leading to at least 124 deaths. We know that getting filthy rich helps, but still... how do these people sleep at night?


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