A record-setting year for recalls and high-profile problems with General Motors and Toyota are mixing together to create a cauldron of proposed laws aimed at making automakers be accountable or pay up in a significant way.
In fact, some members of Congress and the Obama administration are pushing for changes that would force automakers to move more quickly to report potential problems and dramatically stiffen the penalties for attempting to skirt those rules.
When General Motors admitted to wrongdoing in the handling of its faulty ignition switch, it received a record fine of $35 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The previous high was $17.5 million paid by Toyota related to its unintended acceleration problems. That figure was doubled to the current level in 2012. (more…)