General Motors is paying up big time for waiting nearly a decade to report deadly flaws in millions of its vehicles' ignition switches.
"General Motors pays the price. The government fines GM $35 million for delays in recalling cars with faulty ignition switches." (Via Bloomberg)
The Department of Transportation announced the whopping fee Friday. According to NBC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called it the "single highest civil penalty amount ever paid as a result of a NHTSA investigation of violations stemming from a recall."
And that's not all. The Detroit News reports GM was also ordered to "make significant and wide-ranging internal changes to its review of safety-related issues in the United States, and to improve its ability to take into account the possible consequences of potential safety-related defects."
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx told reporters he thinks the punishment fits the crime.
"We know no one is perfect. But what we cannot tolerate, what we will never accept, is a person or a company that knows danger exists and says nothing." (Via MSNBC)
GM has faced heavy backlash ever since news broke back in March that the company was aware of faulty ignition switches in 2.6 million of its vehicles — but did nothing to fix them. (Via The New York Times)
The defect has reportedly caused cars to shut off while driving, disabling anti-lock brakes, power steering and even air bags. Incidents like those have been connected to at least 13 deaths. (Via CBS)
But GM insists it's doing everything in its power to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
According to CNN, since the recall issue went public, CEO Mary Barra hired at least 40 more safety investigators and created the position of vice president for global vehicle safety.
She said in a statement released in March: "We are taking no chances with safety. ... We are going to provide our customers with the peace of mind they deserve and expect by getting the new switches into all the vehicles."
But things aren't quite over yet for GM — the FBI is still investigating the company, and it could face even more fines later on. This $35 million fine will reportedly go to the U.S. Treasury and not to compensate any crash victims.