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WHAT IS THE NHTSA WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAM?

July 26, 2022

The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act of 2015 created the whistleblower program administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Program pays monetary rewards to auto safety whistleblowers who provide information leading to the resolution of an enforcement action, such as an investigation, recall, or an action for civil penalties. The NHTSA Whistleblower Program receives information concerning a wide array of unlawful behavior, including:

  • Vehicle safety defects
  • Noncompliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • Violations of the Vehicle Safety Act

Unlike many of the other whistleblower programs, however, the eligibility of an individual to achieve whistleblower status under the NHTSA Whistleblower Program is somewhat limited—specifically, to employees or contractors of a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership. But, if these and other Program requirements are met, an auto-safety whistleblower may receive anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of collected monetary sanctions over $1 million.

In November 2021, NHSTA made its first-ever whistleblower award: $24 million to an individual who provided information about defective engines in vehicles produced by Hyundai and Kia. This milestone demonstrates the commitment that the agency has to whistleblowers and, also, the impact that NHTSA whistleblowers are beginning to have on significant automotive safety issues.

If you are considering filing a NHTSA whistleblower complaint, please fill out our online form or contact us by phone at (267) 551-5240 or via e-mail at zarbitman@feldmanshepherd.com for a free, confidential consultation.

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