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NHTSA updates its whistleblower program

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Whistleblower Protection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a new website on June 14. Its goal is to make it easier for employees of motor vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers and dealerships to provide information to the federal agency, which among other roles, is in charge of issuing vehicle recalls for faulty and unsafe vehicle models.

“Safety is the top priority for NHTSA and the entire U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, in an announcement. “Whistleblowers play a critical role in safeguarding our nation’s roadways, and we will do everything in our power to protect them.”

The site features an information page that walks potential whistleblowers through the process of what information the whistleblower should provide and how they can best provide that information.

About the program

The Vehicle Safety Act (VSA) ensures that those who provide useful information that contributes to enforcement action resolution remain anonymous. They will also receive a monetary reward (between 10% and 30% of the sanctions over $1 million issued by NHTSA) for their actions. The VSA also protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The typically provided information includes:

  • Violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • Violation of the VSA
  • Potential vehicle safety defects

The agency will use this information for formal actions, including investigations, civil penalties for enforcement and recalls.

It is best to be careful

The NHTSA does provide protections to whistleblowers, but it is still often a good idea to check with an attorney first. These legal professionals can provide guidance and protection to those enduring abuse and harassment or forced to commit illegal actions.