There is an increasing number of options for whistleblowers to submit information to the federal government and share in recovery money. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently joined organizations like the SEC and CFTC when it issued its first whistleblower award.
The administration gave out more than $24 million to a whistleblower who provided information related to Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America. The award was the maximum percentage allowed of the $81 million collected in sanctions.
As with other whistleblower programs, qualifying whistleblowers must submit unique, helpful information voluntarily to the agency if they are to recover compensation. Whistleblowers can receive a maximum of 30 percent of collected money when sanctions exceed $1 million.
In this case, the whistleblower provided the agency with information about the automakers’ violations of the Safety Act. In November 2020, NHTSA issued consent orders with both Kia and Hyndai indicating both of the companies failed to conduct timely recalls of more than 1.6 million vehicles with Theta II engines and did not accurately report crucial information to the agency about the defects in the engines.
The NHTSA launched a new webpage in 2021 to aid whistleblowers in determining which information would be useful to investigators and how they should provide that information. The goal was to make reporting information more accessible for all whistleblowers.
The NHTSA whistleblower program is specifically focused on issues related to the roadways. Topics might include vehicle safety defects, noncompliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, issues with product and vehicle recalls and violations of the Vehicle Safety Act.
If you have crucial information about safety noncompliance on the part of an automaker and are looking for assistance in filing a whistleblower claim, contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group today for counsel.