According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Fiat Chrysler under-reported the number of deaths, injuries and legal claims it is required to report to regulators. NHTSA says the number of under-reported incidents is “significant”. Under the Tread Act, carmakers are obliged to report certain information to regulators. Financial Times reports that Fiat Chrysler found “deficiencies” in its system while looking into discrepancies.
NHTSA’s administration Mark Rosekind said “FCA [Fiat Chrysler] has informed NHTSA that in investigating that discrepancy, it has found significant under-reported notices and claims of deaths, injuries and other information required as part of the early warning reporting system,” according to Financial Times. The under-reporting stemmed from “a number of problems” said Mr. Rosekind. “This represents a significant failure to meet a manufacturer’s safety responsibilities.”
There are roughly 33,000 deaths on the road each year in the United States. Early warning reporting is important for helping the NHTSA figure out which are caused by vehicle design flaws. The safety watchdog is being stricter about enforcing safety rules in light of the General Motors ignition switch recall, where the company appeared to know about the issue for years before taking the vehicles off the market. The defect is linked to at least 124 deaths.
In July NHTSA held a public hearing to probe how Fiat Chrysler handled a series of potential safety issues. The agency pointed out discrepancies in early warning data and raised concerns about under-reporting issues with vehicle transmissions and tire faults at high speed. Fiat Chrysler subsequently signed a consent agreement promising to keep better track of safety issues.