General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra’s recent take-no-prisoners approach to vehicle recalls might start spreading if a new Senate bill becomes law.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the staunchest critics of how General Motors handled its massive ignition switch recall, introduced a bill called the Motor Vehicle Highway Safety Enhancement Ac on Friday that could mean automobile executives found responsible for delaying recalls facing life in prison if the defects are linked to deaths. A summary of the bill, which seeks to improve vehicle and road safety, from McCaskill’s office points to the U.S. Justice Department’s record criminal settlement. In that case, the settlement was for violations to the Wire Act and not for ignoring auto safety laws. According to the summary, federal prosecutors have never used the current criminal penalty provisions.
Among other things, the bill McCaskill is backing would give federal prosecutors more power to level criminal charges at auto executives along with increasing the possible penalties to include life sentences.
General Motors is still in the midst of executing an unprecedented number of recalls. Currently, the Detroit automaker reports having recalled over 28.7 million vehicles worldwide in 2014. The company officially linked 13 deaths to the faulty ignition switches.
[Source: Automotive News]