Last week, General Motors chief executive Mary Barra deflected cries for an internal company probe citing that the company would provide more information in due time regarding to a defect in their cars linked to 13 deaths and a recall of 2.8 million vehicles worldwide. Federal regulators announced today that they could not wait any longer for information.
In a largely symbolic fine, federal regulators levied a $7,000 per day fine on the company until they fully cooperate with the investigation. The fines are retroactive to April 3, the day when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first requested more information as to why GM did not act sooner to recall the faulty ignition switched linked to the 13 deaths.
According to a spokesperson at the NHTSA, the questions that GM failed to answer were “basic questions concerning information that is surely readily available to GM at this time. It is deeply troubling that two months after recalling the vehicles, GM is unwilling or unable to tell NHTSA whether the design of the switch changed at any other time.”
In an even more forceful and telling sign, the NHTSA also has warned GM that they will ask the U.S. Department of Justice to go to court for an injunction forcing the company’s cooperation if they do not receive it themselves shortly.
2014 is set to go down as the year where the axe came down on major automakers for faulty recall procedures. It will be a dangerous precedent that other manufacturers should seek to steer clear of in order to remain in the black.
While the GM and Toyota recalls will go down as the largest automaker defects in recent history, even smaller, less critical defects can have a huge impact on driver safety.
If you or someone you know has suffered the loss of a loved one by wrongful death, an experienced lawyer can help you figure out what to do next. Please do not hesitate to contact the Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. to schedule a free consultation and we will be there for you in your time of grief. Having a competent lawyer on your side will help relieve some of the burden families are faced with.