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Elkhart RV company to pay millions in fines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that Elkhart-based Forest River Inc. failed to launch timely recalls. Due to that, the RV company was fined millions of dollars.

As part of a consent order, Forest River agreed to pay a hefty $35 million civil penalty. Five million will be a cash penalty and $30 million will be in the form of a deferred amount.

This consent order centers around two safety issues. The first is an audit query that was opened in September of 2014. According to official documents, on February 24, 2015, Forest River notified the NHTSA that there were issues with 726 Rockwood and Flagstaff camper trailers. Loose wiring could come into contact with heating elements and spark a fire. Initially it was classified as a service bulletin and sent to vehicle owners. The NHTSA said it must be deemed a safety recall.

This past March, Forest River notified the NHTSA that a defect in 200 Palomino camper trailers, which were manufactured in 2014, could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning due to a potential lack in proper ventilation. The RV company initially issued a service bulletin. The NHTSA said a safety recall must be issued.

The consent order states the company admitted to violating the Safety Act multiple times.

READ THE FULL NHTSA REPORT HERE

An independent auditor will now be assigned to Forest River. That agent will monitor the company and conduct audits of its safety procedures.

If Forest River fails to resolve any issues uncovered, it will be forced to pay additional fines.

Just last month, Forest River, Inc. issued a recall of several 2016 models - including the Evo, Salem and Sandstorm trailers. Studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

Owners and dealers may receive replacements free of charge. This recall is expected to begin on August 1st.

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