WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today responded to the Department of Transportation’s announcement that General Motors has agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty for failure to report the ignition switch safety defect to the government in a timely manner.
“When it comes to vehicle safety, a matter of life and death, there is no margin for error. GM’s admission that it failed to follow the law is an important milestone, but our investigation into how the system failed is far from over. We continue to gather documents and interview key players involved in the ignition recall to determine why it took so long to connect the dots and take action. What should have been a maximum of five days to report took years, and people died as a result,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “When we wrote the TREAD Act over a decade ago in response to Ford-Firestone, we inserted criminal fines into the law to make it clear that mistakes and delays will not be tolerated. Today’s record penalty sends a strong message that nothing is more important than safety. There are still many unanswered questions, and we must first fully understand how and why the system broke down to determine the necessary action to ensure the public’s faith is restored and this never happens again.”
Oversight and Investigations Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said, “We are still examining how information was communicated both within and between GM and NHTSA because it is clear there were major failures on both ends. Our investigation remains open, active, and ongoing to determine whether NHTSA had all of the data needed to spot a safety defect, but failed to connect the dots, and why GM, after years of delay in addressing ignition switch failures linked to deadly car crashes, failed to take action.”