The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is fining BMW
of North America, LLC $3 million in civil penalties because it believes
that the car manufacturer did not comply with the National Traffic and
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which requires that automakers report noncompliance
and safety defects in a timely manner. BMW has agreed to pay the fine.
Along with parent company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, BMW will implement
revisions to its process for how to decide on recalls so that in the future,
timely notification of the federal government and consumers occurs. According
to federal law, all motor vehicle have to tell the NHTSA about any noncompliance
or safety defect within five days of discovery. The automaker must also
act swiftly to conduct a recall.
Our auto products liability law firm cannot stress enough the importance that automakers take prompt action to notify the government and consumers about safety defects that could increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash. The longer an automaker waits to announce a safety issue, the greater the chance of personal injury or wrongful death.
The NHTSA claims that upon looking at BMW’s 16 motor vehicle recalls in 2010, it found that the car manufacturer did not abide by federal law when it came to meeting safety reporting requirements. Also, key information appeared to be missing from some of the car company’s initial recall filings. The NHTSA says that although this issue was brought to BMW’s attention every time it was identified, the automaker would still take awhile to provide the missing information.
For instance, ClaimsJournal.com says that out of the 16 recalls that it announced that year, in only six of the recalls was BMW able to report how many motor vehicles were affected and how many would likely be recalled. The automaker was able to provide the mandatory chronology of events in just five of the 16 reports. Only one of these five reports did not have dates or other important information missing. NHTSA said that BMW took on average more than 30 dates to provide the “fundamental” information that it failed to initially provide in its recall updates.
One need only look at Toyota’s delays in reporting safety issues–some to do with the faulty gas pedals that were believed to place many of its vehicles at risk of sudden acceleration–to see the repercussions that may occur from not reporting a defect and/or recalling the affected vehicles immediately. Over the past few years, Toyota has been contending with numerous auto defects lawsuits and wrongful death complaints from dozens of plaintiffs claiming that vehicles accelerated out of control because gas pedals got stuck and/or got caught in ill-flitting floor mats. Toyota would go on to recall millions of vehicles as a result of this auto defect.
In 2010, NHTSA at first fined Toyota the maximum penalty of $16.4M because the automaker failed to notify the safety agency within five days of discovering about the “sticky gas pedal” problem. Later that year, however, the government fined Toyota another $16.050 million and $16.375, respectively, over its delays to report safety defects.
NHTSA: BMW Fined $3M for Untimely 2010 Recalls, Claims Journal, February 13, 2012
BMW to Pay $3 Million in Civil Penalties for Untimely Reporting of 2010 Recalls, NHTSA, February 10, 2012
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act
More Blog Posts:
SUV Rollover Risk Prompts Toyota to Recall 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUVs, Products Liability Law Blog, April 19, 2010
Toyota Motor Corp. to Pay $32.425M Penalties Over Auto Recalls, Products Liability Law Blog, December 22, 2010
Recently Recalled Honda Civic Blamed in Georgia Air Bag Defect Lawsuit, Products Liability Law Blog, December 31, 2011
Our auto defects lawyers at the Gilbert Law Group represent victims and their families throughout the US. Contact us today.