Daimler Trucks hit with $30M fine after NHTSA recall investigation

January 4, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Daimler Trucks North America a civil penalty of $30 million over problems with the recalls of certain Daimler trucks.

According to a news release, the consent order requires Daimler Trucks to launch an advanced data analytics program to enhance its ability to detect and to investigate potential safety defects. The manufacturer must also improve its IT systems to collect potential safety information more effectively. Furthermore, Daimler Trucks must develop written procedures and conduct training for its employees on the recall and reporting requirements.

In addition to those provisions, the civil penalty includes an initial payment of $10 million, as well as $5 million on projects to enhance safety and a $15 million deferred penalty if Daimler Trucks violates any terms of the order.

Daimler Trucks’ consent order stays in effect for two years. NHTSA may extend the order if it finds it necessary.

The consent order stems from a 2018 investigation conducted by NHTSA. The Office of Defects Investigation initially examined four recalls issued by Daimler Trucks. NHTSA was concerned about the timeliness of the recalls that affected nearly half a million vehicles. Those recalls are:

  • 17V-761: Brake light issue with more than 400,000 Freightliner and Western Star trucks.
  • 17V-810: Faulty Kidde fire extinguishers in nearly 25,000 Freightliner and Western Star trucks.
  • 18V-157: Wheel chair lift issue in more than 3,000 Thomas Built Buses Minotour.
  • 18V-163: More than 9,000 Freightliner chassis recalled over a power steering hose issue.

NHTSA added three smaller recalls to the investigation. Those recalls are extensions of the above recalls.

The investigation determined that Daimler Trucks did not timely inform NHTSA of the defects.

According to federal law, a manufacturer must submit a report to NHTSA within five working days after it knew or should have known of a safety-related defect or noncompliance in its vehicles. Manufacturers must also submit copies of all notices, bulletins and other communications regarding any defects. Those must be turned in within five working days after the end of the month in which they were issued.

During the investigation, Daimler Trucks submitted certain communications and field reports to NHTSA. It was determined that the manufacturer did not submit those documents in a timely manner. However, Daimler Trucks disagrees with that assessment. With a difference in opinions, NHTSA and Daimler Trucks agreed to the above consent order.

“The paramount focus for Daimler Trucks North America is on building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles for the customers and drivers who keep our country and the world moving,” a DTNA spokesperson told Land Line. “In this case, though there are no known accidents or injuries associated with any of the voluntary recalls, we appreciate the opportunity to summarily resolve this matter and continue building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles.” LL

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Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.