GM to pay record fine, have unprecedented oversight during ignition investigation

DETROIT - The U.S. government is fining General Motors $35 million for delays in recalling small cars with faulty ignition switches.

The government also says Friday that GM will report safety issues faster in the future.

The fine is the maximum allowed by law. But it's only a fraction of the $3.8 billion GM made last year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating GM's delayed recall of older small cars with defective ignition switches. GM has acknowledged knowing about the problem for at least a decade, but it didn't recall the cars until this year. The company says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem.

The Justice Department also is investigating.

Automakers are required to report safety defects within five days of discovering them.

"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. “While we will continue to aggressively monitor GM’s efforts in this case, we also urge Congress to support our GROW AMERICA Act, which would increase the penalties we could levy in cases like this from $35 million to $300 million, sending an even stronger message that delays will not be tolerated.”

“No excuse, process, or organizational structure will be allowed to stand in the way of any company meeting their obligation to quickly find and fix safety issues in a vehicle,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman.

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