Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill (shown above) has had it with automotive execs stalling when it comes to recalls. The Missiourian has proposed a new bill, the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Enhancement Act, which aims to improve the automotive safety following the high-profile fiascos involving General Motors and Toyota.

Aside from a doubling of the budget for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the next six years and the removal of the $35-million limit for fining automakers, the plan includes a provision that would punish auto executives if it's discovered they knowingly delayed recalls. How will it punish them, you ask? Oh, you know, just life in prison.

The bill "gives federal prosecutors greater discretion to bring criminal prosecutions for auto safety violations and increases the possible penalties, including up to life in prison for violations that result in death," McCaskill's office told The Detroit News. If a delayed recall led to serious injuries, meanwhile, execs could still face a 15-year stint behind bars.

As for that change in the fine structure for automakers, the removal of the limit is complemented by a hefty increase in the per-vehicle fine, from $5,000 to $25,000. With this change, GM could have been on the hook for $55 billion (with a "b") in fines for its bumbling of the ignition switch recall, rather than just $35 million. The News says, though, that NHTSA has "wide discretion" in handing out the fines. Considering a $55-billion fine is enough to sink any automaker, it is unlikely that such a monumental sum would be handed out. Still, the potential threat of such a death sentence should be enough for any automaker to sit up and take notice.

"With millions of Americans behind the wheel every day, and more than 33,000 killed on our roads each year, we've got to do more to keep our cars and the roads we drive them on safe," McCaskill said, according to The News. "Painful recent examples at Toyota and GM have shown us we also must make it easier to hold accountable those who jeopardize consumers' safety. For too long, auto safety resources have remained virtually stagnant while cars and the safety challenges they present have become more complex."

What do you think? Do you agree with McCaskill's proposed bill? Should the punishments for automakers and execs be more or less harsh? Have your say in Comments.


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  • 110 Comments
      ScottT
      • 4 Months Ago
      Burn them at the stake! I love when politicians find a nearly completely one sided cause, you get to see them go over the top insane.
      dukeisduke
      • 4 Months Ago
      If we're going to go there, how about imprisoning Gen. Shinseki and other top execs of the VA, for allowing veterans to die while waiting for care that never came?
        NewTexian Brewery
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        this...
        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        We can't do that, it happened under 0bama. He is purrrfect.
          Losferatu
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Yup, just like every other President.
          knightrider_6
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          It's ok. Teabaggers also blame Obama for Katrina http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2013/08/louisiana-republicans-blame-obama-katrina
        knightrider_6
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        How about the president who lied about WMDs and got 50,000 American soldiers and 1 million innocent civilians killed?
          CarGuy
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          Join the discussion... wow knightrider where did you find your figures... in your azz??
          Pj Taintz
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          2006 called, they want their tired argument back look, bush was a bad president, but obama is presidentNOW , and is much worse wecan have a circlejerk over which is worse or we can actually fix a problem
          knightrider_6
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          And let's not forget no bid contracts to Haliburton
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Why would we put VA specific features in a bill about automotive recalls and safety? Think for a moment before you type.
          Tiberius1701
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          Compare and contrast. Plain and simple.
      denniskfc
      • 4 Months Ago
      i want this bill's logic apply to politicians too if found guilty of corruption, we use the same amount of money you steal to determine the length of prison sentance
        SloopJohnB
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        They routinely exempt themselves from the laws they pass.
        NewTexian Brewery
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        I love the premise, but doesn't go far enough... add the bureaucrats and agents as well
        Justin Campanale
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        NO WAY!!!! How else are we going to put dinosaurs like Mitch McTurtle and Botox Nancy out to pasture?
        Pj Taintz
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        politicians who abuse the constitution should be executed for treason... so... by my calculations, we will have about 4 members of congress left after "the coming"
        Zoom
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        Bankers too.
        delsolo1
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        The American people get what they deserve in DC. A southern governor decides to bill the tax payers for his sex trips to Argentina to hookup with his mistress. He is later elected to Congress.
        knightrider_6
        • 4 Months Ago
        @denniskfc
        What about Governors who let thousands of people die, just to spite the president. 9000 people will die every year in Texas alone. http://www.texasobserver.org/rick-perrys-refusal-to-expand-texas-medicaid-program-could-result-in-thousands-of-deaths/
          CarGuy
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          Join the discussion... what about presidents and secretaries of state that allow our people to be murdered in Libya
      dukeisduke
      • 4 Months Ago
      The government owned GM for several years - so, the government knew nothing about this the whole time they owned it?
      superlightv12
      • 4 Months Ago
      If a soldier serves in the military and turns his back on his fellow soldiers and abandons his duties, it is treason. Treat politicians that do not uphold the law (immigration) and the constitution as traitors. If they take money and pass laws that are not in the interest of their employers (taxpayers), they should be tried for treason. Democrat, independent or Republicans, let's straighten this mess out. Stop the slandering and find people that will turn things around.
        Pj Taintz
        • 4 Months Ago
        @superlightv12
        apparently now adays we let terrorists go in return for these traitors
      JD
      • 4 Months Ago
      I wonder if anyone in Congress is curious about why people believe they are useless, do-nothing, over paid buffoons.
        SloopJohnB
        • 4 Months Ago
        @JD
        The real problem is that 'people' still reelect their own useless, do-nothing, overpaid buffoons.
      JaredN
      • 4 Months Ago
      We need jail sentences for moronic lawmakers.
      lendersmith
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hey "Senator", - how'bout you take the fencepost out of DC's eye before you start picking splinters out of the eyes of others.
      IBx27
      • 4 Months Ago
      #anotherdayanotherdemocrat
      James
      • 4 Months Ago
      How about 'life sentences' instead for the Liberals who have seized power 'by hook and by crook' and are doing an excellent job of destroying our country?
      rationalone
      • 4 Months Ago
      typical clueless politician. Lets start by throwing the lot of them in jail every time they fail to pass legislation that could have saved lives.
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 4 Months Ago
      I suggest the dishonorable McCaskill look at the government first. As in, how about fining and throwing in jail members of congress who do nothing but sit there and point fingers at each other rather than fixing all of the issues that they have caused. Because far, far more people die from defective highways and bridges, missing signs, etc. than have died in both of these recalls put together!!
        Charles
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Alfonso T. Alvarez
        The problem with congress is they would not know a problem if it came up and introduced its self. They just cannot tell the difference between a real problem and a symptom. Just pass laws and throw money at it is the only solution they can come up with
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