NHTSA To Fine Fiat Chrysler – Is It Enough?

NHTSA To Fine Fiat Chrysler – Is It Enough?

July, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The NY Times reports:

“DETROIT — In their most aggressive crackdown yet on auto safety, federal regulators on Sundaylevied a record penalty of $105 million against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for failing to complete 23 safety recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles.

The civil penalty is the largest ever imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on an automaker for recall violations, surpassing the $70 million fine imposed last year on Honda for faulty airbags.

It also represents an escalation of the agency’s efforts to investigate and punish automakers that do not adequately recall and fix defective models….

The agency has come under harsh criticism in Congress and by the Transportation Department’s inspector general for lax enforcement of auto safety regulations.

The agency is overhauling its internal operations, as well as stepping up its investigations of individual car companies….

“When you have a horrible tragedy, honestly, that’s what triggers big change,” he (current NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark R. Rosekind) said.

In Fiat Chrysler’s case, this month the government took the unusual step of holding a public hearing to focus on 23 separate recalls that date back to 2009. At the hearing, federal officials said the company had repeatedly failed to notify consumers of recalls and to complete repairs in a timely fashion….

One auto safety advocate said on Sunday that the financial penalties imposed on Fiat Chrysler should have been higher, given the scope of the automaker’s violations.

“The $105 million fine shows the need for an uncapped penalty,” said Clarence Ditlow, an official of theCenter for Auto Safety who first petitioned the government to investigate the rear-mounted fuel tanks in Jeeps.  See



Think fines civil or criminal?  DOT Revolving Door.   

How many Chrysler deaths?  A year ago, the Center for Auto Safety reported there have been at least“370 fatal fire crashes of 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees”  Seehttps://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-jeepburn.php Compare today’s $105 million civil fine as follows:

* Jury awards $150 million for death of a child in a Chrysler.  Seehttps://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-verdictfatalfierychild.php
*  Multiply by $9.2 million value in DOT Policy Guidance to the priceless true value of a death and it will exceed the $105 million civil fine which is tax deductible.  See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CASMarchionneLetter1-8-15.pdf
*  Will anyone be jailed?  Chrysler executives? Former DOT officials?
*  Will Congress (a) remove caps? (b) add criminal penalties?
*  Will enough consumers learn to avoid Chrysler products? 
*  Will President Obama who has been in Africa talking about corruption, set a national Vision Zero goal to end crash tragedies in or by new vehicles in a decade here in America?
Clearly NHTSA’s civil fine is not enough to end tragedies as far as anyone can see.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.


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