Jason Levine, director of the Center for Auto Safety, said that he was glad to see the settlement but that NHTSA ought to be doing more to routinely monitor recall programs.
“One can only hope that this is the beginning of a renewed effort by the government to remember that its job is to ensure compliance with the law by car manufacturers and to use all of the enforcement tools at its disposal to do so,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz has agreed to pay $13 million to the nation’s top highway safety regulator to resolve an investigation into how the luxury German automaker handled recalls on defective cars.
The company has also faces $7 million in additional penalties if it doesn’t meet the terms of a settlement with the government.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began the investigation that led to the settlement last year. The agency concluded that Mercedes missed deadlines in the recall process on multiple occasions.
“The agency’s reporting requirements help ensure that consumers are protected and given important information about how to get recalls repaired,” said James C. Owens, NHTSA’s acting administrator.
“These laws are critical to ensure NHTSA’s ability to provide oversight, and we expect manufacturers to follow their legal obligations to the agency and to consumers in carrying out safety recalls,” he said.
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