The stiff punishments are part of broader transportation legislation, but clearly McCaskill has automakers in her sights.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill threw down the gauntlet this week, proposing a bill that could send auto executives to prison for life if they were found to have delayed a recall. She also wants to eliminate the limit for fines for auto safety violations, which are currently capped at $35 million.

The stiff punishments are part of broader transportation legislation, but clearly McCaskill has automakers in her sights. "Painful recent examples at Toyota and GM have shown us we also must make it easier to hold accountable those who jeopardize consumers' safety," she said in a statement announcing the bill.

The legislation, if passed, would give more teeth to federal laws and strengthen prosecutors' ability to pursue offenders. McCaskill, a second-term Democrat, noted that the current law's criminal provision has never been used by prosecutors. Even Toyota – which was slapped with a record $1.2 billion fine in March in its unintended acceleration case – was technically prosecuted for wire fraud, which allowed for a higher financial penalty than an auto safety violation. The possible life sentence for an executive could come into play if a company delayed a recall for a problem that caused a fatal accident.
Saturn Ion

It seems unlikely a CEO would be sent to the slammer for life, but this legislation must be sending shivers down the spines of executives, especially at Toyota and GM, which were mentioned directly by McCaskill. They're the most recent examples of high-profile recalls, though Ford, Audi, Hyundai and others have faced similar circumstances over the years.

The reaction from the industry has been muted, and spokesmen for industry advocacy groups, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, wouldn't comment on the legislation.

If this bill becomes a law, expect it to be enforced to the letter. McCaskill did a bit of grandstanding during GM's hearings earlier this year on Capitol Hill, but she's only responding to the mood of the country, which is fed up with safety issues, recalls and delays in fixing technical problems that can't be explained clearly. Expect this law to be broadly applied, and woe to the executive or company that's the first to be found negligent or to have stalled a recall – they'll bear the brunt of pent-up frustrations from Congress and the public.

Other News And Views

2016 Cadillac LTS Cadillac is expected to debut its new flagship sedan next year.

This is exactly what Cadillac needs. Rumored to be called LTS, a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan with V8 power would finally offer legitimate American competition for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. Cadillac has shown it can compete with the Germans in midsize sedans and coupes, and there's no reason to doubt its capability to develop and build something bigger with the full weight of General Motors behind it. More than just physically larger, an S-Class fighter would signal Cadillac's intent to return to its former "Standard of the World" status.

Lost in the shuffle could be the XTS, which is an underrated sedan. Just because Cadillac makes an S-Class competitor, doesn't mean it needs to kill the XTS, though it probably will. It's hard to see the XTS (which is the only Caddy based on a front-wheel-drive chassis) surviving for long after the launch of a new flagship sibling, and Cadillac will need every available advertising dollar to position the new sedan properly.

2015 Chevy Colorado Chevrolet and GMC announced pricing for their new Colorado and Canyon midsize pickup trucks.

The 2015 Chevy Colorado starts at $20,995 with destination, and the 2015 GMC Canyon begins at $21,880. These are really compelling prices. The trucks, which are still large vehicles with plenty of capability, are more than $5,000 cheaper than their fullsize brethren, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra.

The point here isn't to undercut their big brothers. Large truck buyers are among the most loyal in the industry, and if your job involves your truck, you won't be looking to downsize. But if you don't need the monster capability of the Silverado and Sierra on a daily basis, the Colorado and Canyon are attractive and economical options.

Bentley SUV Bentley's new SUV development is charging ahead, as evidenced by spy photos this week.

Now that there's even a website dedicated to the first Bentley SUV, this recent round of spy shots isn't a surprise. We know it will be fast, opulent and as the pictures of these heavily cladded prototypes show, it will look unmistakably like a Bentley. The question then becomes: when the wraps come off, will this 'ute be accepted as a real Bentley? A good example was set by Porsche, which conceived the Cayenne and Macan SUVs as attractive and performance-driven options for enthusiasts who already owned its sports cars. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but look for Bentley to make its move at the Paris Motor Show this fall.


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  • 48 Comments
      Zeus
      • 5 Months Ago

      I wish politicians were this critical of politicians. 

        L7D4R
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zeus

        I wish voters were this critical of politicians.

        manure
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zeus

        Yes OT but if a congress person is found to delay a balanced budget, automatic life in prison

          churchmotor
          • 5 Months Ago
          @manure

          That would required passing a budget.

          Yes, it is required by LAW that Congress shall pass a budget EVERY YEAR.

          Yet Harry Greed and Obama have YET to pass a single budget.

          Pj Taintz
          • 5 Months Ago
          @manure

          thats too good, give um death

          superlightv12
          • 5 Months Ago
          @manure

          Not so sure about that. Depends on how they are balancing the budget. Get the wrong people in control and that could be a disaster. If they commit treason by taking bribes or voting because of money funneled to them, life in prison.

      David
      • 5 Months Ago

      The demagogues come out of the woodwork in election years.  Sen McCaskill wants to be seen as "tough on evil business," to appeal to her hard-left base.  It really doesn't matter that this bill has no chance of passing.  Like everything progressive, it's the intent that matters, not the results.  This is getting really old!

        Michaele
        • 5 Months Ago
        @David

        Hard left? The "hard right" is just pis**d they didn't think of a cheap move like this first. Their corporate owners wouldn't care, because they would have been assured in private that it would never ever come to the Senate floor let alone be voted on. You are quite naive if yo think this is left vs right conservative vs liberal or any of that garbage. It's political grandstanding as practiced by ALL politicians.

      ffelix422
      • 5 Months Ago

      So congress sits around on their asses doing nothing until an "easy one" comes along and they "Dog & Pony" it to death.

      How about legislation for "do-nothing" congressional idiots.

      Someone say term limits... 

        superlightv12
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ffelix422

        We already have term limits, it's called the voting process. People keep electing whoever is in their party. They then blame the other party for all of the problems. It will never be fixed until it is too late.

          churchmotor
          • 5 Months Ago
          @superlightv12

          Almost true, but look what happened in Mississippi. 

          McDaniels clearly beat Cochran, but the corrupt Republicans ( and Democrats) banned together to defeat a third party politician with vote ballot stuffing, dead people votes, and one minister admitted he was offered $15 per person to vote for Cochran.


          But will the "Government" look into this case.  HELL NO.  It would expose them.

          SloopJohnB
          • 5 Months Ago
          @superlightv12

          Agree.  And the party(s) in power in the various states gerrymander voting districts so that 95% of incumbents are reelected, except when their own party knifes them in the back in a primary.

      mylexicon
      • 5 Months Ago

      I propose capital punishment for politicians who disrespect the poor by institutionalizing poverty, disrespect the young by promoting generational theft, disrespect the lower-middle class by suppressing employment and expanding handouts/taxes, disrespect the middle-aged by raising income taxes and pretending it affects the elite wealthy, disrespect the elderly by giving away SS and MED money to people who are already well-off, and denigrate our country and our system of government until living in the US feels like a subpar existence.

      If voter turnout dips below 50% in a presidential election, let the hangings commence.

      sixpackdan
      • 5 Months Ago

      WHY do the American people hire these whack jobs??? just what we need to do.  Over fill our prisons with non-violent offenders.

      E85 450HP Forester
      • 5 Months Ago

      Ugh this makes me so mad, how about banning truck tire recaps blamed for thousands of accidents each year, attention whore.  Do something more practical, the repercussions in the economy, product development, etc will be huge, life in prison give me a break.

      Captain Stu
      • 5 Months Ago

      Puh-lease. Toyota got railroaded by ambulance-chasers. But that's the state of the judicial system - no justice. 

      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago

      Just a lot of noise.

      lasertekk
      • 5 Months Ago

      I'll say it again.  NO ONE is above the law.  If your actions cause any harm, you are responsible.

      Kole Maguire
      • 5 Months Ago

      It won't pass, even if it should pass. Corp Amurka owns the gubment.

      SloopJohnB
      • 5 Months Ago

      McCaskill is a left wing demagogue in an election year just raising her viz.  She's not up for reelection until 2018 (elected 2012) and is likely to have a rough time of it then.  One could argue that she was elected because Akin stepped on his schwanz with his comment about legitimate rape, but that was then, this is now.  I really doubt there will be criminal penalties as such for automotive heads, anymore than there will be criminal penalties for the dooshes that got us into wars in Iraq, etc.

        James
        • 5 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB

        Sadly, you are right on point, sir. There won't be any penalties until people start waking up and demanding that these politicians are not above the law.

      Eta Carinae
      • 5 Months Ago

      If this law does go into effect, would the executives at GM and Toyota be exempt from it ? See in it was created because of this series of recalls......it would be like making laws just to win your case.....isnt that illegal ? 

        Michaele
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Eta Carinae

        It will never get beyond McCaskill's fat mouth. It's a cheap PR stunt by a worthless politician.

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