Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied a $40 million civil penalty on German automaker BMW following a series of violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and NHTSA regulations. The infractions include two separate incidents, one in October of 2014 and another in July of 2015, in which a Mini Cooper (a subsidiary of BMW) 2-Door Hardtop failed to meet crash-protection minimum requirements.
In addition to paying the civil penalties, BMW must:
• Retain an independent, NHTSA-approved, safety consultant to help the company develop best practices in order to comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and additional NHTSA regulations, as well as to aid them in submitting those best practices to NHTSA.
• Evaluate all safety or compliance-related issues under the company’s review with the help of a NHTSA-approved liaison, and provide a monthly written report to NHTSA on those issues.
• Launch a pilot program in order to determine whether they can use data analytics capabilities as a means of detecting emerging safety-related defect trends.
• Develop a plan that will help deter BMW dealers from selling new vehicles with un-remedied safety defects, a requirement that was introduced after a NHTSA representative was able to purchase a new Mini Cooper vehicle despite an open safety recall from the BMW dealer. (NHTSA)
Under the terms of the Consent Order issue to BMW, the company has agreed to notify all model owners and issue a timely recall of all vehicles that failed to meet minimum crash protection standards.
While the majority of companies and manufacturers, including BMW, deem the safety of consumers to be their top priority, in some cases, a recall may be too late to prevent injuries. Our lawyers take great pride in the changes our efforts have brought in the areas of product liability law and consumer safety.
In many instances, our legal team has been successful in not only recovering substantial settlements for our clients, but also successfully removing defective vehicles, parts and components from the marketplace, ensuring that they cannot cause further harm to consumers.
Design defects and mistakes do happen, but it is the responsibility of an automotive company to look out for the safety of their customers whenever possible, and take every measure they can to remedy the situation in a timely manner to protect consumers from serious injury. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury because of an auto manufacturers negligence, our lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.