Volvo to Pay $1.5 Million in Civil Penalties

In the United States, manufacturers have five business days to notify the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that not only does a safety defect exist or that the manufacturer is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, but then to promptly initiate a recall as well.  Unfortunately for Volvo Cars North America, LLC, NHTSA has asserted that the company failed to comply with these requirements in a timely manner.

In January 2011, NHTSA began to investigate Volvo to determine if the company had met its obligation to notify the agency of any safety defect and then conduct a recall in a timely manner.  According to the NHTSA evaluation, Volvo failed to report safety defects and non-compliances in accordance with federal law. 

Volvo has agreed to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and has also agreed to make internal changes to its recall decision-making process to ensure the timely reporting to both consumers and the federal government in the future.  The fines received from the automaker will be paid into the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury.

To prevent injury and/or death on our highways, NHTSA stated that it is crucial for automakers to promptly report safety defects, and then take immediate steps to remedy the problem.  NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that the agency “expects all manufacturers to obey the law and address automotive safety concerns without delay.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added that with millions of vehicles on the highways everyday, “we take our responsibility to safeguard the public very seriously and expect automakers to do the same.”