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senate Bill S. 304

Offering More Protections for Auto Industry Whistleblowers

Argument in favor

Faulty car parts have proven to be very dangerous for consumers. Offering incentives for auto industry workers to come forward with manufacturing defects will keep bad cars off the market, save people’s lives, and curb recalls.

BananaNeil's Opinion
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03/23/2015
This will encourage automobile manufacturers to put human life over fiscal benefits.
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Cary's Opinion
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03/19/2015
I think a more appropriate whistle-blower incentive would be 10% of the fine, but overall they should have protection and an incentive.
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Gerald's Opinion
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03/20/2015
They should be patted on the back for protecting the safety of there fellow man rather than punished.
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Argument opposed

Whistleblowers have to put their jobs on the line when they release sensitive information. These incentives may not be sufficient for them to feel comfortable risking their careers and livelihood.

Elinor's Opinion
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03/19/2015
ONLY IF APPLIED TO WHISTLEBLOWERS IN ALL INDUSTRIES AND IN GOVERNMENT, TOO!
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Curmudgeon's Opinion
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07/23/2015
Since when was car manufacture a government enterprise? Oh yes, when Obama took the helm of GM. And of course we know how the White House rewarswhistleblowing.
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10/14/2016
It needs to be rewritten, this should include all aspects of industry, as well as the government, if not especially the government. Whistleblowers across the board need protection, not just in the car industry.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed July 13th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 245 Yea / 182 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Consumer Protection and Commerce
  • The senate Passed April 28th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedJanuary 29th, 2015

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What is Senate Bill S. 304?

This bill offers incentives to employees at car manufacturing companies, part suppliers, car contractors, and dealership agencies to report instances of vehicle defects or violations to federal regulators. Essentially, it aims to protect and reward whistleblowers in the auto industry.

The bill would safeguard a whistleblowers’ personal information, and offer them up to 30 percent of the fines larger than $1 million collected from offending companies. The bill would prevent any rewards from being given to a whistleblower who falsely exchanges information or fabricates their information, with criminal penalties to follow.

The benefits and protections in this bill have been based on existing whistleblower guidelines for people who have shared valuable information with the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the past.

Impact

Drivers, passengers, car dealerships, vehicle manufacturers, the automotive industry and its employees, Department of Transportation, the Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Justice.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 304

$3.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate found that implementing this legislation would not cost very much in any one year — less than $500,000 annually. However, that adds up. CBO estimates that in the ten years until 2025, the bill would cost $3 million.

More Information

Of Note: 2014 was the worst year on record for auto recalls. More than 1 in 5 cars and trucks on the road had a serious manufacturing defect. More than 50 million vehicles were recalled in 2014 — that's three times the number of vehicles that were sold the previous year.


In Depth: This bill was first introduced in November 2014 in response to a string of recalls from auto parts manufacturer, Takata. Several defective air bag incidents (i.e. exploding airbags shooting out shrapnel) were linked to five deaths. The recall eventually grew to include nearly 8 million cars.


Media:

Summary by Jon Vorpe

(Photo Credit: Flickr user valkrye131

AKA

Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act

Official Title

A bill to improve motor vehicle safety by encouraging the sharing of certain information.

    This will encourage automobile manufacturers to put human life over fiscal benefits.
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    ONLY IF APPLIED TO WHISTLEBLOWERS IN ALL INDUSTRIES AND IN GOVERNMENT, TOO!
    Like (17)
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    I think a more appropriate whistle-blower incentive would be 10% of the fine, but overall they should have protection and an incentive.
    Like (10)
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    I always worry when I agree with my congressman. Generally he thinks his constituents are lazy & unworthy of a government that works. I disagree categorically! Still, whistleblowers are an important consumer protection. Given the long history of auto industry malpractice when it comes to safety, I think it is an industry in which protection is particularly necessary.
    Like (5)
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    They should be patted on the back for protecting the safety of there fellow man rather than punished.
    Like (5)
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    Reducing the degree of anxiety for workers who have information that would be of interest to the appropriate officials would go a long way toward producing that much needed information, I believe, yes.
    Like (4)
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    It needs to be rewritten, this should include all aspects of industry, as well as the government, if not especially the government. Whistleblowers across the board need protection, not just in the car industry.
    Like (4)
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    Since when was car manufacture a government enterprise? Oh yes, when Obama took the helm of GM. And of course we know how the White House rewarswhistleblowing.
    Like (4)
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    Whistle blowers are important for holding companies accountable for their actions. We must protect them!
    Like (3)
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    We need to encourage more individuals to do the right thing and speak up without having to fear of retaliation.
    Like (2)
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    You think.
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    We need more safeguards against the manufacturers who have NOT been pursuing recall notices until many accidents occur.
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    Cheers to Congress for taking a practical step, long proven by the FCA, to hold auto makers accountable.
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    I think there should be a governing body around this kind of work and not necessarily a large number of for profit whistleblowers
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    One life is much more important than a part of a vehicle that could cost a life
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    there are huge problems if you know there is a problem and little protection for you if you report it..I had ethics training in my engineering classes but found it difficult to be able to practice it in today's climate
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    The auto industry is rife with bad people. Protect the good ones.
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    It will be up to the individual whistleblower to determine if the risks are greater than the rewards. This is merely an additional consideration in what is already an overly drawn out process.
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    The federal government does need to step in when businesses put lives at risk.
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    Preventing whistleblowers from telling the truth, in the auto industry or otherwise, impedes on their free speech and can be very dangerous.
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