Fiat Chrysler To Pay $70M For Allegedly Failing To Disclose Crash Deaths & Injuries

Fiat Chrysler will pay a $70 million fine to federal regulators over allegations it under-reported injuries and deaths related to vehicle crashes. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the $70 million fine early Thursday, nothing that the penalty followed the company’s September admission that it failed for several years to provide Early Warning report data to the agency.

Reuters was the first to report on the fine.

Car manufacturers are required under law to report death and injury claims to NHTSA. Those figures allow the regulatory agency to identify potentially fatal and dangerous defects.

NHTSA said in September that Fiat Chrysler wasn’t following that rule, noting that preliminary information suggested the “significant discrepancy” in “under-reporting is the result of a number of problems with FCA’s systems for gathering and reporting data.”

The agency said at the time that it had notified Fiat Chrysler of the issue and the carmaker reportedly investigated, discovering “significant under-reported notices and claims of death, injuries and other information” that is legally required to be reported.

The manufacturer then pledged “complete remediation” of the issue, noting that the company “takes this issue extremely seriously and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur.”

The $70 million fine is the second for Fiat Chrysler this year. In July, the company was fined $105 million for its leisurely pace in fixing more than 11 million vehicles connected to 23 safety recalls.

“FCA US LLC accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance. However, [the company] is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources,” the carmaker said in an e-mailed statement to Consumerist.

“Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement, and it’s also part of a manufacturer’s obligation to protect the safety of the traveling public,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “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.”

According to NHTSA, the penalty has been included in an amendment to the agency’s July 24 consent order regarding FCA’s failure in addressing more than two dozen safety recalls. That issue resulted in a $105 million penalty.

Including the new fine, the civil penalties from that investigation now total $175 million, with $140 million due in cash and another $35 million in deferred penalties that will come due if the company fails to meet its obligations under the consent order.

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