Under the Tread Acts early warning reporting system, automobile manufacturers are required to report all deaths, injuries, and legal claims associated with their vehicles to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a monthly basis. Fiat Chrysler, however, failed to accurately report this data.
In an announcement made by the NHTSA, Fiat Chrysler discovered "a number of problems" with the system it uses for reporting such incidents, which subsequently caused them to under-report a significant amount of deaths and injuries caused by their vehicles.
The NHTSA relies on the accuracy of these reports to identify which of the 33,000 annual deaths on U.S. roads were caused by serious automobile design flaws.
This is not the first time that the NHTSA has had an issue with Fiat Chrysler formed when Italy's Fiat merged with America's Chrysler following its 2009 bankruptcy. In July 2015, the NHTSA held a public hearing to investigate the way the company handled a series of potentially dangerous flaws in their automobiles. Fiat Chrysler also engaged in a lengthy dispute with the NHTSA over whether or not to recall 2.7 million older Jeep models that the NHTSA regulators said were prone to exploding into flames when involved in rear-end collisions.
Due to these earlier safety concerns, Fiat Chrysler was required to sign a consent agreement with the NHTSA. The agreement allows the company to be monitored more closely by the NHTSA when it comes to safety issues. Because of the heightened monitoring by the NHTSA, Fiat Chrysler disclosed the discrepancies with their reporting system as soon as they became aware of the problem. The company also agreed to a thorough investigation by the NHSTA regarding the incident.
The news comes as the NHTSA ramps up its enforcement of safety regulations following the recent controversies over General Motors' faulty ignition switch and Volkswagen's falsifying emissions software.
If you or someone you love has been injured while driving a vehicle manufactured by Fiat Chrysler, contact the Arnold Law Firm and discuss your claim with an honest Sacramento personal injury attorney at our firm.