NHTSA Extends GM Oversight Over Safety Issues

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is on a roll this week. First, it announced a July public hearing into the way FCA US has handled 20 recalls. Next, it announced a 34 million Takata air bag recall after finally getting the air bag supplier to admit a defect. Now, to round out the week, the agency is announcing it will extend its GM oversight following the automaker’s ignition switch recall.

The NHTSA made the announcement via press release. It means that GM will have to continue meeting with agency officials and submitting reports for another full year, providing additional evidence that it is maintaining compliance with the NHTSA’s May 2014 consent order.

“GM learned a hard lesson last year,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We expect to see the improvements they’ve made continue and that their new approaches are applied to every GM safety issue and every recall. Today’s action will help keep them on the right track.”

Last May, the company agreed in the Consent Order to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and to take part in unprecedented oversight requirements as a result of findings from NHTSA’s timeliness investigation regarding the Chevrolet Cobalt and the automaker’s failure to report a safety defect in the vehicle to the federal government in a timely manner. The defect resulted in the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM models. Thursday’s action is an extension of certain requirements of that agreement. The agency says other requirements continue for an additional two years.

NHTSA says it extended its oversight because the consent order has proven to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects.

“Our oversight has been effective and GM’s in a better place. We expect that our agreement will help them continue to improve their safety culture,” said NHTSA Administrator, Mark Rosekind. “Automakers can learn an important lesson from GM. Follow the rules, be accountable for your products, take good care of your customers and always make safety the priority.”

A GM spokesman said in a statement that the company has used its monthly meetings with NHTSA officials “to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.”

For more details about the GM oversight action, FCA US public hearing an Takata air bag recall head to the agency’s website.

Photo Credit: General Motors
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