One of the world’s largest child car seat manufacturers is the subject of a federal investigation for how it dealt with a massive safety recall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced yesterday that it is investigating the timeliness of Graco Children’s Products, Inc.’s reporting of safety defects. Earlier this year Graco launched a recall covering six million child safety seats, the largest in U.S. history. Seats that fall under the recall have defective buckles that can become stuck in the latched position, making it difficult to unbuckle during an emergency.
“Any delays by a manufacturer in meeting their obligations to report safety issues with the urgency they deserve, especially those that impact the well-being of our children, erodes that trust and is absolutely unacceptable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
Federal safety regulators said yesterday that documents Graco provided as part of the investigation indicate that the company knew of the defects as early as 2009 and that it was preparing to address the problem by 2012.
Graco stands to be find up to a maximum $35 million if the investigation finds that the recall was not conducted in a timely manner. In May, NHTSA ordered GM to pay the same maximum fine that Grayco may be ordered to pay depending on the investigation’s outcome. Federal safety regulators said last spring that they believe that the cap is too low. The “Grow America” Act seeks to increase the maximum penalty for delayed recall announcements to $300 million.