49 U.S.C. § 30170 : US Code - Section 30170: Criminal Penalties

      (a) Criminal Liability for Falsifying or Withholding Information.
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        (1) General rule. - A person who violates section 1001 of title
      18 with respect to the reporting requirements of section 30166,
      with the specific intention of misleading the Secretary with
      respect to motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment safety
      related defects that have caused death or serious bodily injury
      to an individual (as defined in section 1365(g)(3) (!1) of title
      18), shall be subject to criminal penalties of a fine under title
      18, or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both.

        (2) Safe harbor to encourage reporting and for whistle blowers.
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          (A) Correction. - A person described in paragraph (1) shall
        not be subject to criminal penalties under this subsection if:
        (1) at the time of the violation, such person does not know
        that the violation would result in an accident causing death or
        serious bodily injury; and (2) the person corrects any improper
        reports or failure to report within a reasonable time.
          (B) Reasonable time and sufficiency of correction. - The
        Secretary shall establish by regulation what constitutes a
        reasonable time for the purposes of subparagraph (A) and what
        manner of correction is sufficient for purposes of subparagraph
        (A). The Secretary shall issue a final rule under this
        subparagraph within 90 days of the date of the enactment of
        this section.
          (C) Effective date. - Subsection (a) shall not take effect
        before the final rule under subparagraph (B) takes effect.

      (b) Coordination with Department of Justice. - The Attorney
    General may bring an action, or initiate grand jury proceedings,
    for a violation of subsection (a) only at the request of the
    Secretary of Transportation.