Monday, March 23, 2015

Graco fined $10 million by NHTSA for delay in recall of defective child seats.

The New York Times (3/21, B3, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 9.97M) cites the National Highway Safety Administration as saying Friday that Graco Children’s Products agreed to pay $10 million to settle claims it had failed “to recall promptly about four million child car seats with a defective buckle that could make it difficult to free a child in an emergency.” Graco will “pay a $3 million fine and spend $7 million developing safety programs,” the Times reports. The company said in a statement that it had “evaluated the issue in a timely manner,” but in its consent agreement with NHTSA acknowledged that “it did not provide the required notice” to the agency. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Parents need to know that the seats they trust to protect their children are safe ... and that when there’s a problem, the manufacturer will meet its obligations to fix the defect quickly.”
        Bloomberg News (3/20, 2.94M) adds that Foxx said Friday’s action “reinforces that responsibility in a way that will make our kids safer for decades to come.”
        Reuters (3/21) notes that Graco’s agreement with NHTSA effectively closes the DOT’s investigation of the car seats that got stuck in the latch position, which regulators said might put children at risk in an emergency.
        According to The Hill (3/21, Laing, 224K), Foxx said it was “important for federal regulators to send a message about the importance of auto safety, especially when the youngest passengers are involved.” NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind “said the fine shows the transportation department is serious about safety.”
        The Wall Street Journal (3/21, Beilfuss, Subscription Publication, 5.67M) notes that NHTSA claimed Graco had been aware of consumer complaints regarding the buckles as early as 2009.
        The settlement is covered widely in a number of sources, including: CBS News (3/21, 8.2M), CNBC (3/20, 2.42M), CNN Money (3/20, 1.76M), MarketWatch (3/21, 962K), the AP (3/20), the Kansas City (MO) Star (3/21, 637K), WRC-TV Washington (3/21, 613K), WLS-TV Chicago (3/21, 6K), KGMB-TV Honolulu (3/21, 63K), KRMG-AM Tulsa, OK (3/20, 1K), WWJ-TV Detroit (3/20, 34K), WDIV-TV Detroit (3/21, 219K), and WSB-TV Atlanta 

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