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British motorcycle company fined $2.9M for failing to report safety defects

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is fining British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph $2.9 million for allegedly failing to report safety defects on vehicles sold in the U.S. to federal regulators. 

The agency said the company failed to properly notify officials about 1,300 recalled motorcycles that were found to have faulty steering mechanisms in September 2014.

The agency said the company did not report the rate of completed repairs and provide copies of service bulletins that were supposed to be submitted to owners of the vehicles. 

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Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE said the fine, which is the latest in a string of large penalties doled out in relation to recalls, is a sign of the Obama administration's commitment to U.S. road safety.  

“Manufacturers must comply with their reporting obligations. The law requires it, and public safety demands it,” Foxx said in a statement. “When companies fail to meet those obligations, we will hold them accountable.”

The Obama administration has been trying to crack down on vehicle manufacturers in recent months after coming under fire for its oversight following widespread recalls at General Motors and Takata in 2014 that involved parts found to be defective years ago.

Lawmakers first took the highway safety agency to task last spring for its handling of recalls at General Motors that affected about 2 million vehicles. NHTSA officials were accused of failing to notice the trend of accidents involving GM's faulty ignition switches for several years before issuing the recall in February.

The highway safety agency faced criticism again this year over a recall involving faulty air bags made by Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata. Takata initially claimed the faulty airbags affected about 8 million cars, but the recall was later expanded to include 34 million automobiles

The agency said Monday that Triumph has agreed to pay $1.4 million in penalties for the recall failures and spend an $500,000 on safety improvements. The company would be responsible for another $1 million in fines if it violates the terms of the agreement. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind touted the settlement as a sign that regulators are more vigilantly watching auto and motorcycle companies than they had been in the past. 

"Today’s enforcement action penalizes past violations, and it promotes the proactive safety culture manufacturers must adopt if they are to reduce safety defects and identify them more quickly than they occur,” he said.