January 6th, 2021 by Johnna Crider
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) popped the hand of Daimler Trucks North America on New Year’s Eve. The NHTSA announced a consent order with the company after an investigation that found that Daimler Trucks North America failed to recall vehicles in a timely manner and failed to comply with other reporting requirements.
Included in the consent order is a total civil penalty of $30 million. The new consent order includes monetary and non-monetary provisions that will help Daimler Trucks North America improve its compliance with the law and hopefully inspire the company to improve its safety practices.
The company will need to develop and implement an advanced data analytics program to enhance its ability to detect and investigate potential safety defects, according to the NHTSA. It will also need to improve its IT systems to be able to collect potential safety information from its business units more effectively. It will also need to report that information accurately to the NHTSA.
Another item added to the to-do list for Daimler Trucks North America is developing written procedures and conducting training for employees on the recall and reporting requirements of the Vehicle Safety Act. It needs to take action to ensure that its reporting to the NHTSA is complete and that it meets regularly with the NHTSA to discuss potential safety issues.
NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens emphasized the importance of safety in a statement in the NHTSA’s press release. “Safety is NHTSA’s top priority,” he said, “It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues.”
The consent order between Daimler Trucks North America and the NHTSA is in place for two years, but the NHTSA could extend it for an additional year if it decides that this is needed. The consent order requires the company to pay the NHTSA $10 million upfront, spend $5 million on specific safety-related projects, and set aside another $15 million deferred penalties that could become payable under specified circumstances.
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