New penalties against five registered companies for violating federal safety requirements for importing vehicles into the United States were announced on Monday by the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Three of the five importers are in Washington State.
The actions were the result of investigations conducted by the federal agency that found that the companies violated federal provisions by importing vehicles that do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
“Registered importers are responsible for ensuring that the vehicles they bring into the United States are safe and meet all federal standards and requirements,” Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s deputy administrator, said in a statement.
The federal agency said it authorizes registered importers to import noncompliant vehicles, but they are required to: bring the vehicles into compliance, repair all open recalls, certify them as compliant, and hold them for a mandatory waiting period before releasing them for sale to the public.
The five importers and the federal penalties are:
Automotive Services Company, Spokane, Washington – suspension of the company’s registration for 180 days for violations related to vehicle certifications submitted to the federal agency and the mandatory waiting period. The offenses include: submitting certification of conformance signed by unauthorized persons; breaches of the mandatory waiting period; and failing to report a new location and new facilities used for operations.
Diversified Vehicle Services, Inc., Indianapolis – a consent order with the company was issued in which it agrees to a civil penalty of $500,000, a 125-day suspension, and the revocation of its importer registration. In the consent order, according to the federal agency, Diversified Vehicle Services admitted to violations of the requirements relating to the import, modification and certification of non compliant vehicles and the mandatory waiting period. “If Diversified Vehicle Services commits no additional violations during the two years of the consent order, a portion of the civil penalty and the registration will be returned to the company,” NHTSA stated.
Newport International, Inc. in Arlington, Texas – in a consent order with the company, it agreed to a civil penalty of $30,000 and a 180-day suspension. Newport International admitted to violations related to certification labels and the mandatory waiting period in the one year consent order, which specifies: 150 days of suspension and $20,000 of the civil penalty that will be waived if it has no additional breaches occur during the the consent order period.
Northern Imports, LLC., Airway Heights, Washington – suspension of the company’s registration for 75 days for violations of the mandatory waiting period; and
VIP Traders, Inc., Airway Heights, Washington – suspension of its registration for 340 days for violations related to certification labels placed on vehicles, vehicle certifications submitted to NHTSA, and the mandatory waiting period.
“These enforcement actions should make clear to all registered importers the responsibility they have to ensure these vehicles are safe and legal to drive,” Cliff added.
For more information about the new violations and other federal safety news, click here.