Senate is Urged to Reject Increased Fines for Recalls image

A coalition of groups, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, National Association of Manufacturers and American International Automobile Dealers Association, try to convince Congress to reject the proposal that would rise fines to $250 million, for those who fail to properly recall vehicles, up from $17 million.

This week the Senate is expected to debate an overhaul of the nation’s auto safety laws.

The bill, which is aimed at reforming the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, raises the maximum fines for manufactures that delay recalls.

“The proposed increases are so out of proportion either to the current penalty structure or the penalty structure for other manufacturers under the Consumer Product Safety Act as to appear unfairly punitive,” the groups said in a joint letter to the Senate’s top two leaders, Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“The proposed increases should be scaled back to a more appropriate level.”

To settle three NHTSA complaints that it delayed recalls, Toyota had to pay $50 million, last week BMW AG paid $3 million for not notifying the government within the requirement of 5 days after determining a safety defect.

The bill funds research for the development of in-vehicle interlocks to prevent an intoxicated driver from starting a vehicle, it banns texting behind the wheel and the use of cell phones by teenagers, states that all vehicles must be equipped with event data recorders, and new regulations are imposed on pedal placement, pushbutton ignition and electronic performance issues.

Automakers question the need for new auto safety measures, since the number of road deaths fell to its lowest since 1949.