Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is undergoing some serious scrutiny, as the automaker reportedly failed to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of a “significant” number of fatalities and serious injuries which occurred in FCA vehicles, reports The Detroit News.
Automakers are legally bound to submit a plethora of information to the NHTSA’s “early warning system,” including crashes, deaths, injuries, lawsuits, and warranty claims. Since 2000, the NHTSA has used this information to try and detect trends, hopefully leading to earlier recognition of safety defects.
But since the NHTSA first learned of a relevant death which Fiat Chrysler had not reported to the agency, it’s been discovered that many more cases of such failure have transpired, according to The Detroit News. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind called the issue a “significant failure,” and Fiat Chrysler has identified software problems as the likely cause; the automaker’s system apparently has some trouble extracting all the relevant information from a company database to be passed along to the NHTSA.
The issue comes hot on the heels of a $105 million settlement between Fiat Chrysler and the NHTSA, relating to the automaker’s handling of some two dozen recalls. It’s not yet clear whether this lapse in safety protocol will lead to still more financial penalties.