Feds may haul in automakers over 'troubling' safety issues

Feds may haul in automakers over 'troubling' safety issues
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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 Thursday that he is considering calling the heads of the major U.S. auto companies to Washington to discuss a series of safety violations he called "troubling." 

"We're giving strong consideration to calling everybody in. There are a number of issues on the table right now that probably merit discussion across many of the manufacturers," Foxx said during a meeting with reporters at the Transportation Department's headquarters in Washington. 

"One of them is 'Look folks, we have millions of people rely on what you make every day to get from everywhere from work to putting their most precious cargo — their kids — in cars, and we need to have confidence that information that we get is real and accurate information,'" he continued. 

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"We've obviously fined heavily where we can. We've also added on top of that in consent agreements that give us authorities to peer behind the veil than we would have had otherwise. But It's time to bring everybody in here and have a deeper conversation about go-forwards, and we're willing to do that," Foxx concluded.  

Automakers — as well as highway safety regulators in the Obama administration — have come under fire after widespread recalls at companies like General Motors and Takata beginning in 2014 that involved parts that were first found to be defective years ago.

The issue of car safety was brought back into the spotlight by recent revelations that German automaker Volkswagen has been cheating federal pollution emission standards to trick regulators into believing their cars are more fuel efficient than they actually are.

Foxx said Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which made the allegations against Volkswagen, is taking the lead on punishing them for their violations, which VW has admitted. 

"Because it deals with emissions, the EPA is rightly in the lead on this," he said, noting that that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is supporting the effort to crack down on Volkswagen. 

"We're playing an assist role here and following the lead of the colleagues at the EPA," Foxx continued.