Michael Knoll/Pixabay
Highway 3871353

NHTSA enhances transparency of whistleblower program

June 22, 2021
New webpage intended to assist whistleblowers in providing information about their safety concerns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently introduced a new website the agency says makes it easier for any employee or contractor of a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership to provide whistleblower information to the NHTSA.

The new information page will assist whistleblowers in determining what information they should provide and how they should go about doing so. According to NHTSA, it is taking this action to make this program easier to access in recognition of the important role whistleblowers can play in enhancing the safety of the nation’s roadways.

“Safety is the top priority for NHTSA and the entire U.S. Department of Transportation,”
said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s acting administrator. “Whistleblowers play a critical role in safeguarding our nation’s roadways, and we will do everything in our power to protect them.”

The agency is currently working on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to formalize its whistleblower program. However, potential whistleblowers need not wait for the NPRM and can already provide information to the agency. Whistleblowers have legal protection from retaliation and may receive a monetary award without the rule being finalized.

NHTSA welcomes information from whistleblowers on a wide variety of topics, including potential vehicle safety defects, noncompliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and violations of the Vehicle Safety Act. That information can lead to formal actions including investigations, recalls, or a civil penalty enforcement action.

NHTSA may pay a monetary award to a whistleblower who provides original information that leads to the successful resolution of an enforcement action for violations of law. The amount of that award to a whistleblower is between 10% and 30% of collected monetary sanctions over $1 million. Information on NHTSA’s prior enforcement actions is available on our website.

NHTSA’s whistleblower information is available at NHTSA.gov/whistleblower.