Federal road safety officials, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have levied a potential $30 million worth of fines against Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) for being late in issuing recalls of vehicles which needed repairs or updates.
DTNA has agreed to pay an initial fine of $10 million directly to the NHTSA and will also spend another $5 million in enhancing its safety protocols. $15 million in fines have been deferred and may eventually be waived as long as DTNA improves its safety requirements while reporting information correctly to the NHTSA.
DTNA will also need to develop training procedures and written documentation for employees who handle recalls and reporting requirements.
In a prepared statement, DTNA said on Dec. 31, “We appreciate the opportunity to summarily resolve this matter and continue building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles.”
This fine comes on the heels of a $20 million penalty paid last year by Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz passenger car division for its handling of recalls In the U.S.
The DTNA recalls in question took place in 2017 and 2018. The NHTSA began their investigation in April 2018 involving nearly a half million Freightliner Cascadia Western Star trucks. DTNA broke NHTSA rules by not filing a suspected defect and noncompliance report within five business days of discovering the problem.
DTNA claims there were no accidents or injuries involved in what they labeled “voluntary recalls.” The penalty is the largest filed by the NHTSA since they fined Fiat-Chrysler $70 million for reporting faulty crash, death and injury data in 2015.
In its agreement with the Feds, DTNA said it would work toward implementing technological solutions to the recall issue with machine learning and advanced analytics.
In the agreement, Daimler said, “DTNA will invest in and in good faith work toward developing advanced data analytics capabilities to enhance its ability to detect and study emerging safety-related defect trends on its vehicles.”