By

Amanda Farfel

29 April 2015

Senate Unanimously Passes Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act

Posted by Ellyce CooperMichael Andolina and Amanda Farfel

On April 28, 2015, the Senate unanimously approved S. 304, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act. The bipartisan legislation was reported out of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar on April 13, 2015. The Committee modified the legislation, including additional provisions regarding the protection of whistleblower identities, extending the deadline for the Secretary to promulgate regulations consistent with the statute from 12 to 18 months, and providing that the Secretary may make an award to a whistleblower prior to the promulgation of the regulations. The legislation, as passed, can be found here, and the Committee Report can be found here. We first reported on the proposed legislation here.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. We will continue to monitor the legislation.

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13 March 2015

Proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act Approved by Senate Committee

Posted by Amanda FarfelEllyce 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.

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