Fiat Chrysler Faces NHTSA Action over Death, Injury Reporting

Fiat Chrysler Faces NHTSA Action over Death, Injury Reporting
Image: FCA Group
September 30, 2015

After a record fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you might think Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) would be on its best behavior.

However, after an internal investigation, the automaker has discovered that is not the case. FCA informed NHTSA in late July that the company had under-reported claims and notices of injuries and death, in defiance of U.S. law. The probe began after NHTSA informed the automaker of a discrepancy in its Early Warning Reporting (EWR) data.

FCA has been subject to a NHTSA consent decree since July. This agreement required the company to overhaul its recall and defect practices and compelled the hire of an independent monitor to investigate safety issues. A statement issued by FCA indicates that this heightened scrutiny resulted in discovery of the under-reporting.

"This represents a significant failure to meet a manufacturer's safety responsibilities," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. "NHTSA will take appropriate action after gathering additional information on the scope and causes of this failure."

Rosekind said early information suggests that FCA's under-reporting was caused by, "a number of problems with FCA's systems for gathering and reporting EWR data."

The EWR system was put in place by the 2000 Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act. The system is intended to isolate automotive defects before they endanger individuals and lead to expensive recalls.

Check for Recalls For Your Vehicles

Does your vehicle have any open recalls? Just enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's online recall look-up tool.

If you are an NCCC member, don't forget to register your vehicles for custom auto recall alerts for instant notification of for instant notification of new recalls.

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

Don't throw away your good money on unneeded oil changes! Most manufacturers today recommend longer oil changes, such as 6,000 miles, due to improved engine technology, better oils and a better understanding of how oils work. Are you changing your oil more often than is necessary?

Readers have been looking for ways to cut back on costs and have been looking to make those cuts in auto insurance. The main issue then becomes whether to have full coverage or only liability coverage on the vehicle. Before you drop full coverage auto insurance, you'll want to do some thinking.

If you've ever purchased or looked into purchasing a used vehicle, chances are good that you've either seen or at least heard of CARFAX, a service that provides historical information on used vehicles. But just how reliable is the information that CARFAX reports provide? They are only as good as the information that is reported.

We are urging consumers to avoid purchasing model year 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission due to a potential defect that could cost thousands of dollars to repair and put the vehicle occupants' safety at risk.