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The NHTSA Whistleblower Program

If you report fraud under the NHTSA Whistleblower Program, you may be entitled to a monetary reward.

Consult with an attorney first

In the 1960s, the U.S. government and its citizens became increasingly concerned about rising motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the first mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles in the country, was enacted in 1966 to counteract these trends.

The legislation required automakers to institute safety standards to protect the public from unreasonable risk of accidents occurring as a result of the design, construction, or operation of vehicles. A closely related act, the Highway Safety Act, created several federal agencies, which are now known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to mandate uniform safety standards.

The NHTSA created a whistleblower program which enables the NHTSA to pay a potential reward to whistleblowers who provide information on a wide variety of topics, including vehicle safety defects, noncompliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and violations of the Vehicle Safety Act.


If you report information under the NHTSA Whistleblower Program that leads to a successful resolution of an enforcement action for violations of law, the NHTSA may pay you a monetary reward.

Who can blow the whistle under the NHTSA Whistleblower Program?

Eligible whistleblowers may include an employee or contractor of a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership who voluntarily provides original information relating to any motor vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation or alleged violation of any notification or reporting requirement of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which is likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury.

Is the NHTSA Whistleblower Program confidential?

NHTSA whistleblowers are protected by the law. The NHTSA Whistleblower Program will not disclose information that can reasonably be expected to reveal your identity. It may request that you sign a waiver that allows it to disclose your information; however, the waiver is voluntary, and when signed, the NHTSA will still take reasonable measures not to disclose your identity.

“Safety is the top priority for NHTSA and the entire U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator. “Whistleblowers play a critical role in safeguarding our nation’s roadways, and we will do everything in our power to protect them.”

How much can I get as an NHTSA Whistleblower award?

If you provide information that results in a successful resolution of an enforcement action for violations of law, the NHTSA Whistleblower Program may award you anywhere from 10% to 30% of collected monetary sanctions over $1,000,000.

An example of an NHTSA whistleblower reward

In November 2021, the NHTSA announced its first whistleblower award – a $24,300,000 award to a single whistleblower. The whistleblower, a former Hyundai Motor engineer, provided the NHTSA with information related to Hyundai’s and KIA’s alleged violations of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He reported that the automakers failed to address a serious design flaw in the Theta II engine, which was seizing up and sometimes catching on fire.

Acting on the info, the NHTSA found that Hyundai and Kia had also delayed recalling vehicles with the engines and provided inaccurate data regarding the issue. The whistleblower award was the maximum percentage allowed by law (30%).1,3

How can a whistleblower attorney help me with the NHTSA Whistleblower Program?

The NHTSA Whistleblower Program is relatively new, and an experienced whistleblower attorney can help you navigate its evolving procedures. Unlike the FCA, which is filed in federal court, you file an NHTSA whistleblower claim with the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the DOT then decides whether it will proceed with the investigation and claim. We can help you provide information to assist the government in its action.

Our firm has successfully worked with many different types of whistleblowers, and we have a defined You-First Policy that is designed to put your needs and concerns first and try to shield you from possible retaliation.1 Call us at 1-888-292-8852 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

We can help you navigate the NHTSA Whistleblower Program, and you will not owe us any payment unless we get you a reward.2 Let’s work together to report any violations of traffic safety standards laws you have encountered. When companies build vehicles that boost their profits, but compromise safety on the roads, it’s time to speak out.

Awards we’ve won

For standards of inclusion for awards listed, visit,,,, and National Trial Lawyers Top 100 designation is for 2022. Regarding the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, we do not represent that similar results will be achieved in your case. Each case is different and must be evaluated separately. Firm award is for the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Attorney awards are for attorneys with the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

Contact the Carolina
Whistleblower Attorneys

If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to speak with a whistleblower lawyer about what you know, let us set the record straight.

  • Corporate ethics hotlines can be risky and may lead to termination. If you’ve already done this, call us immediately.
  • Your coworkers could be aware of the fraud – or complicit in it – and you should not talk to them about it.
  • The first claim to be filed under the False Claims Act can proceed – if you’re not first, you’re at a serious disadvantage and may get nothing (another reason not to speak to your coworkers about it).
  • A confidential discussion costs you a few minutes, but could save you time, stress, and money.


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