Posted by Amanda Farfel, Ellyce Cooper and Michael Andolina
On February 26, 2015, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act. The full text of the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act can be found here. Introduced by Senators John Thune (South Dakota) and Bill Nelson (Florida), the proposed legislation prescribes certain incentives to whistleblowers who voluntarily provide information relating to motor vehicle defects that are likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury. The proposed whistleblower provisions are very similar to those of the Dodd-Frank Act. Highlights of the proposed legislation include:
- Financial incentive to whistleblowers up to 30% of collected sanctions in excess of $1 million.
- Applies to original information relating to any motor vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation or alleged violation of any notification or reporting requirement likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury.
- Applies to violations that predate legislation.
- Whistleblowers must first report or attempt to report the information to the company, with limited exceptions, and those who are convicted of a crime in connection with the violation would not be eligible for an award.
- Protection of the whistleblowers’ identities.
The proposed legislation will now head to the Senate floor for a vote. We will continue to follow the legislation and provide updates.