CARS.COM -- In September, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles admitted it had violated the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act when reporting vehicle-related deaths and injuries. Today, the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration handed down a $70 million fine.
TREAD requires automakers to notify NHTSA every three months of accidents that caused injuries or deaths. NHTSA reports that FCA acknowledges significant failures in its early warning reporting processes that date back to 2003. FCA says the failures stemmed from problems in its electronic system for monitoring and reporting safety data, including improper coding and brand name changes.
The new civil penalty follows the $105 million civil penalty fine levied against FCA in July to settle its mishandling of 23 separate recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. In addition to the fines, FCA must report on the results of its third-party audit, provide the missing early warning data and comply with the independent monitor appointed to oversee the company's early warning compliance.
FCA isn't the only automaker in the hot seat this year; Honda was also slapped with a $70 million fine for failing to disclose deaths and injuries related to its Takata airbag recall.
"Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement, and it's also part of a manufacturer's obligation to protect the safety of the traveling public," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "We need FCA and other automakers to move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture, and when they fall short, we will continue to exercise our enforcement authority to set them on the right path."