FCA US, facing new accusations that it under-reported crash deaths and injuries linked to the company’s vehicles, admitted to identifying deficiencies in reports previously submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The data submissions, called “early warning reports, are required by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. The TREAD Act mandates that vehicle and equipment manufacturers report periodically to NHTSA on a wide range of subjects, so the agency can identify potential vehicle defects as soon as possible.
In late July, NHTSA contacted FCA US (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and pointed out discrepancies in the data submitted. After investigating the matter internally, the automaker issued a statement on Sept. 29 saying it had “identified deficiencies in its TREAD reporting” and “promptly notified NHTSA of these issues.”
Additionally, FCA US said it is “committed to a thorough investigation, to be followed by complete remediation.” The automaker noted it is in regular communication with NHTSA about the investigation’s progress.
According to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, FCA US’s systems for gathering and reporting early warning report data are flawed. NHTSA’s probe into the matter, however, is still in its early stages.
“FCA US takes this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur,” FCA US said.
In July, FCA US agreed to a $105 million civil penalty for violating Motor Vehicle Safety Act requirements in three areas: effective and timely recall remedies, notification to vehicle owners and dealers, and notifications to NHTSA. As part of a consent order, FCA US also agreed to submit to rigorous federal oversight for a period of three years and to buy back some defective vehicles from owners.
Federal regulators also appear to be worried that FCA US may not be the only automaker under-reporting. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx plans to schedule a meeting with the major automaker chief executives to discuss federal reporting requirements. NHTSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation.