A new U.S. highway bill will be voted on this week with a focus on safety violations and recalls.
The proposed bill would triple the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) defect investigations budget from $10 million to $30 million and would also triple the cap on civil penalties to $105 million. The five-year highway bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, will be the first highway funding plan in a decade to last longer than two years if it is passed.
There are also numerous other safety measures covered under the new bill, such as barring rental car companies from renting vehicles with unfixed recalls. In addition, automaker and supplier employees who report possible safety violations will be rewarded up to 30 percent of the financial penalties collected if the information results in a fine.
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Automakers will also be required to provide part numbers of defective components involved in a recall, while dealers will be required to inform owners of open recalls when they visit for a service. The proposed bill will also extend the time that automakers are required to pay for defect recalls from 10 years to 15 years, while broadening the post-bankruptcy recall obligations of automakers.