NHTSA Fines Triumph Motorcycles $2.9 Million

MotorcycleUSA Staff | September 10, 2015

The NHTSA has fined Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. and Triumph Motorcycles (Americas) Ltd. “for violations of Safety Act Reporting requirements and failure to fully respond to communications from NHTSA.” The imposed “civil penalty” totals $2.9 million dollars.

According to an NHTSA press release (included in full below) made public on August 31, 2015, the penalty originated from an investigation into a September 2014 recall, which detailed a defect affecting the steering capability on more than 1300 Triumph motorcycles. The investigation into that recall started in April of this year and looked at Triumph’s report submission timeline among other practices required by NHTSA guidelines.

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The consent order issued to Triumph requires the company to pay a $1.4 million cash fine and spend at least $500,000 on improving its safety practices. An additional $1 million may be imposed if Triumph violates the consent order or if the NHTSA discovers any further violations.

Triumph acknowledged there were “deficiencies” in its reporting practices and that it had violated the Safety Act as a result.

NHTSA Press Release Issued Monday August 31, 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today imposed a $2.9 million civil penalty against Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. and Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. for violations of Safety Act reporting requirements and failure to fully respond to communications from NHTSA.

“Manufacturers must comply with their reporting obligations. The law requires it, and public safety demands it,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “When companies fail to meet those obligations, we will hold them accountable.”

Under a consent order issued to Triumph, the company must pay a $1.4 million cash penalty and must spend at least $500,000 meeting a series of requirements to improve its safety practices. An additional $1 million in penalties could become due if the company violates the consent order or if additional Safety Act violations emerge.

The consent order requires Triumph to hire an independent consultant to audit the company’s safety practices; establish a compliance officer position with direct access to the company’s board and senior executives; and submit written plans for compliance practices and employee training for NHTSA’s approval.

“Today’s enforcement action penalizes past violations, and it promotes the proactive safety culture manufacturers must adopt if they are to reduce safety defects and identify them more quickly than they occur,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

The penalty stems from Triumph’s September 2014 recall of more than 1,300 motorcycles for a defect that could reduce steering capability and increase the risk of a crash. This April, NHTSA began an investigation into whether Triumph had violated the requirement to report the defect in a timely manner, and into other potential violations, including failure to submit quarterly reports on recall completion rates; failure to supply copies of technical service bulletins; and failure to file early warning data reports on death and injury claims, warranty data and other information.

In response to NHTSA’s investigation, Triumph acknowledged deficiencies in the manner in which it collected and reported early warning data to NHTSA and several instances where Triumph was late in providing quarterly reports on safety recalls. In addition, the company failed to respond by the required deadline to a NHTSA Special Order issued as part of the investigation

Triumph admits that it violated the Safety Act by failing to file certain quarterly reports on safety recalls in a timely manner; by failing to furnish NHTSA with copies of notices, service bulletins, and other communications sent to more than one manufacturer, distributor, dealer, owner or purchaser as required by law; and by failing to submit accurate early warning reports.