Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration David Friedman harshly criticized General Motors for the company culture which he attributes to the corporation’s reluctance to issue a recall for cars affected by the infamous faulty ignition switch.
Friedman stated that the automaker has “a fundamentally flawed system and culture that was focused more on profits than on safety.” Attorney Kenneth Feinberg – chief of General Motors’ victim settlement fund – on Monday approved 6 more claims linking accident-related deaths to the faulty ignition switches, bringing the total compensation fund count to 19, to-date.
In response to the General Motors ignition switch scandal, Acting Administrator Friedman says that his administration is taking unprecedented steps toward ensuring that no automaker can again have such a serious, unreported defect in one of their products. “We’re setting a system up where the minute [automakers] sneeze about a safety issue, we’re able to be aware of it and make sure we understand how they’re dealing with it,” says Friedman. Over the past months, he has invited 12 global automotive executives to discussions, hoping to forge a new standard when it comes to reporting and recalling safety issues.
To be sure, it will be difficult to enforce such a standard, especially on a global scale, as corporations are inherently poised to take the most cost-cutting solution for a given issue. But not to worry; Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missourri) has introduced legislation to expand the NHTSA’s ability to fine automakers for similar failures, which will hopefully give them all the incentive they need to report any safety defects sooner, rather than later.