Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Program, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration rewards individuals who expose motor vehicle safety violations that would likely lead to serious injuries or deaths. A whistleblower can receive between 10% and 30% of any penalty over $1 million that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration imposes on violators. Examples of safety violations are faulty airbags, defective brakes and explosive engines.
In March 2018, auto parts manufacturer Takata Corporation was forced to pay $1.7 million to three former employees that exposed its defective airbag inflators. A whistleblower must be an insider of a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier or dealership and must submit original information about the violation to the Department of Transportation.
Like other federal whistleblower programs, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Program provides protections to employees that blow the whistle on their employers. Whistleblowers also can remain anonymous if they are represented by an attorney.