Execs Refusing To Disclose Defects Won't Go to Jail Anytime Soon

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

A U.S. Senate committee has shot down a number of auto safety measures including one that would hold executives criminally accountable for not disclosing known automotive defects, reports the New York Times.

“Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., according to the story. He introduced many of the failed provisions.

Another proposal that would have made it illegal for used-car dealers to sell vehicles with outstanding recalls was rejected by the committee.

There were a few wins for Democrats backing stiffer penalties, however, as a proposal to raise the maximum civil penalty against automakers from $35 million to $70 million gained approval, as did a measure to ban rental car companies from renting vehicles with open recalls.

Two other proposals were withdrawn before they could be rejected. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said he would likely propose them later as amendments directly on the Senate floor.

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  • El Hombre El Hombre on Jul 22, 2015

    Someone in GM management was kind of aware they might have a problem with the ignition key assembly; but it isn't going to be the CEO. Media gets all excited over 13 deaths in 10 years??? There were probably 50,000 people killed in GM cars involved in accidents in those 10 years. So how do you tease out the 13? And do something about it? It's not something the CEO is going to handle; there's lots of lower level peeps to do that. The initial fix was to get the people with the 3 pound keychain to remove the ignition key and use only that; then there was a plastic tab to hold the key cylinder in a clockwise direction. But when they're drunk, speeding, and no seat belt, no recall for stupid.... From what I've read about some of the 13; drunk, speeding and no seat belt. Darwin Award winners....

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    • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jul 22, 2015

      @APaGttH What's driving the economics and corruption with this airbag issue is that the cars MUST have an airbag. There's a very fine line between an properly functioning airbag and a deadly steering wheel bomb. Such uncertainty has an inexpensive, elegant solution. Remove the airbag - and disclose the car is airbag-free going forward. Of course, that is Verboten by The Regulators. The Regulator's Solution: Remove the possible airbag/bomb and swap with a replacement that, after an expen$ive, certified test and installation, is 100 percent guaranteed to Not-Be-An-Airbag-Bomb. Just ignore that this replacement is sold by the same people made and installed the airbag/bomb? in the first place.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jul 22, 2015

    Wouldn't Rick Wagoner be the right picture to show if we're going to show a GM face on the "getting away with murder" story of the day. Rick was CEO from 2003 to 2009 and if there is any smoking gun on, "what did they know," wouldn't he be the right person to point the finger at given what we know about GM ignition switches in Cobalts et al. The Cobalt had been out of production for years when Mary took the ship. Or what about Ed Whiteacre? Or what about Daniel Akerson? Barra didn't become CEO until January of 2014 - one month later GM was accused of knowing about the ignition switch problem back in 2004, when Wagoner was CEO. None of this is in defense of GM - but I do feel that the picture of Barra implies her direct malfeasance quite unfairly - given the well established timeline and the players involved.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jul 22, 2015

    Big Biz getting a pass/cover by the govt./politicians - what else is new? In a country where instead of addressing the horrible treatment/conditions at factory (livestock) farms - politicians pass legislation making it illegal to take undercover video - hardly surprising. Same goes where state politicians have banned cities/towns/local governments from passing legislation regulating or banning fracking. Follow the $$.

  • El Hombre El Hombre on Jul 22, 2015

    It's up to 124 deaths and 269 injuries in the compensation fund. But when it started, it was 13 deaths. Which in the overall scheme of things is a drop in the bucket. Three times that on a holiday weekend...the current total, not the initial. I ride a motorcycle on the street, so I'm not really obsessed about getting snuffed out there; things happen.