In the wake of the delayed recalls of General Motors (GM) brought about by accidents resulting in 13 fatalities, US Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri proposed the “Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Enhancement Act” for improved road safety.

The bill put forth by Sen. McCaskill (who also heads the hearings involving GM's recall issues) aims to “give 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”, her office told Detroit News.

Based on the bill, overlooked defects and delayed that result injuries could land auto executives 15 years in jail and may also result in loss of the auto company’s assets should there be a conviction. If there are fatalities, life imprisonment could be levied upon the executives of the car companies.

The said bill will also waive the USD 35 million fine for delayed recalls and will instead raise the fine for each defective car reported from USD 5,000 to USD 25,000.

The recent wave of recalls of General Motors have spelled tough times for new CEO Mary Barra, also the first female chief executive of a global automotive company. Defects in popular U.S. models such as the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, among others, have been linked to 13 fatal accidents and 54 crashes; the fault was found to be in the ignition switches that suddenly deactivates the engine and prevents the airbags from deploying.

SOURCE: Detroit News