Government fines GM $35 million for safety violations


CBS - The U.S. Transportation Department announced Friday it is fining General Motors (GM) $35 million for safety issues stemming from its delayed recalls of 2.6 million cars due to faulty ignition switches.

This action represents the largest civil penalty ever paid as a result of a government investigation of violations stemming from its recalls. GM has signed a consent order, agreeing to pay the fines and submit to additional oversight, according to the Transportation Department.

"We have learned a great deal from this recall. We will now focus on the goal of becoming an industry leader in safety," said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement. "We will emerge from this situation a stronger company."

Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify the government within five business days after they find a safety-related defect or learn that a vehicle is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. GM admits in the consent order that it did not promptly issue a recall as required.

"Safety is our top priority, and today's announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman are scheduled to attend a press briefing at 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday.

The agencies have been investigating GM's delayed recall of 2.6 million small cars due to faulty ignition switches. GM has acknowledged knowing about the problem for at least a decade but didn't recall the cars until earlier this year. The company says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem.
"It's critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers promptly report and remedy safety-related defects that have the potential to lead to deaths or injuries on our nation's highways," Friedman said in a statement.

Also on Friday, GM announced its sixth recall of the week. It recalled 8,200 mid-sized cars to fix a problem with front brakes. It was GM's 24th recall this year involving about 11.2 million cars and trucks.

"GM's ultimate goal is to create an exemplary process and produce the safest cars for our customers - they deserve no less," Barra said Friday. GM's stock price was unchanged in mid-morning trading Friday.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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