BMW Fined $3 Million for Safety Defect Reporting Delay

February 12, 2012  

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that BMW of North America, LLC will be fined a civil penalty of $3 million for what the agency said were problems with timely reporting of safety defects.

Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, auto makers are required to report recalls and safety issues within a short period of time. Calling this time factor "critical," the NHTSA Administrator David Strickland stated that the agency "expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner."

It might surprise consumers that the federal law puts auto manufacturers on a very short leash when it comes to reporting safety defects and related issues. They have five days to let the agency know about such defects and to expeditiously begin a recall.

In BMW's case, the NHTSA found that in 2010, BMW issued 16 recalls. But these recall also involved failures to comply with federal law. The company will now alter its internal decision-making process to correct the pattern of untimely reporting.

The BMW matter is the result of an investigation by the federal government that began in late 2010. According to the agency, the facts revealed that BMW had failed to notify the NHTSA of defects and noncompliance issues for "several motorcycle and vehicle recalls." Known safety defects were not reported within the five day period as required.

The San Francisco law firm of Hersh & Hersh has represented consumers for over four decades when they have been injured or harmed by defective products. If you believe you have been injured by a defective product, please contact our offices for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We will evaluate your situation at no charge to you.