Government fines GM maximum $35M in safety case - KMSP-TV

Government fines GM maximum $35M in safety case

Posted: Updated:
  • GM RecallMore>>

  • GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:00:12 GMT
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.
  • Local families still waiting for GM compensation

    Local families still waiting for GM compensation

    Thursday, July 17 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-17 23:19:37 GMT
    As the investigation into GM's deadly recalls continues with a compensation fund set up for families affected, questions come of who qualifies and who doesn't.
    As the investigation into GM's deadly recalls continues with a compensation fund set up for families affected, questions come of who qualifies and who doesn't.
  • GM says it's replaced 491,000 ignition switches

    GM says it's replaced 491,000 ignition switches

    Thursday, July 17 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-07-17 18:52:11 GMT
    General Motors says it has replaced faulty ignition switches on just under 20 percent of 2.6 million small cars that are being recalled. The company has repaired just over 491,000 cars that are covered by the recall announced in February.
    General Motors says it has replaced faulty ignition switches on just under 20 percent of 2.6 million small cars that are being recalled. The company has repaired just over 491,000 cars that are covered by the recall announced in February.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. safety regulators have fined General Motors $35 million for delays in recalling small cars with faulty ignition switches that are linked to at least 13 deaths.

It's the maximum penalty that the government can impose and the first time an automaker has been fined that much. But the amount is less than a day's revenue for GM, based on the $37.4 billion it took in during the first quarter.

As part of an agreement announced Friday by the Transportation Department and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM also has agreed to government oversight on safety issues, and to report safety problems much faster than in the past.

NHTSA has been investigating GM's delayed recall of older small cars with defective ignition switches. GM has acknowledged knowing about the problem for at least a decade, but it didn't start recalling the cars until February of this year. The department said in a statement that GM agreed that it was slow to report the problems.

The company says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem, but trial lawyers suing the company say the death toll is at least 53. Ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions can slip out of the "run" position and shut off the engine. That cuts off the power steering and brakes, potentially causing drivers to lose control. It also disables the car's air bags.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, at a morning news conference in Washington, said the government will not accept a company failing to notify regulators about safety defects.

"Literally silence can kill," he said. "GM did not act and did not alert us in a timely manner. What GM did was break the law."

Acting NHTSA Administrator David Friedman said that a previously undisclosed 2009 memo from a parts supplier to GM clearly stated that the ignition switch problem could disable the small cars' air bags, which clearly is a safety problem.

"This is information that General Motors had from their supplier that General Motors never shared with us," he said.

Had the government possessed this information, it would have sought a recall at that time, Friedman said. The safety agency has been criticized for not requiring GM to recall the small cars despite numerous complaints from owners.

The $35 million penalty was doubled from last year. But Foxx still urged Congress to pass legislation that would raise the fine to $300 million.

Automakers are required to report safety defects within five days of discovering them.

Under the agreement, GM will have to make "significant and wide-ranging internal changes" to its safety review process, the government said. The company also has to pay added penalties for failing to meet NHTSA's deadline to answer questions about the ignition switches.

NHTSA began fining GM $7,000 per day in early April after it missed the deadline.

In a separate statement announcing the agreement, GM CEO Mary Barra said, "GM's ultimate goal is to create an exemplary process and produce the safest cars for our customers - they deserve no less."

In addition to NHTSA, two congressional committees and the Justice Department also are investigating GM. The Justice Department could bring a much larger penalty and possible criminal charges. Earlier this year it made Toyota pay $1.2 billion for concealing unintended acceleration problems from NHTSA.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said it was inevitable that GM would be fined $35 million. The big issue now, he said, is what the Justice Department will do.

Ditlow wants Justice to impose a fine of $1 billion or more and bring individual criminal charges against GM engineers and their superiors.

"That's the only way you're going to change GM's behavior," he said.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York

    Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:03:06 GMT
    "Soccer's real popular right now, people are playing that have never played before," said Reginald Ikard. "It's a blessing, we're going to represent and try to win." Ikard is talking about his soccer team going to New York, representing Detroit with his teammates, all of whom used to be homeless.Sheilah Clay is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization."They didn't know anything about this, so it was an overwhelming thought of 'you want us to compete as a team and play in New...
    "Soccer's real popular right now, people are playing that have never played before," said Reginald Ikard. "It's a blessing, we're going to represent and try to win." Ikard is talking about his soccer team going to New York, representing Detroit with his teammates, all of whom used to be homeless.Sheilah Clay is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization."They didn't know anything about this, so it was an overwhelming thought of 'you want us to compete as a team and play in New...
  • Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:51:24 GMT
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
  • Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:49:25 GMT
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices