Honda has been under investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its failure to abide by national reporting standards. After evidence came to light that Honda failed to report 1,729 injury and fatal accident claims, the government is slapping the automaker with the highest fine ever levied against to an automaker.
Why Honda Was Fined
Honda admits it failed to report the accidents. In the company’s response to the NHTSA it writes, “Honda acknowledges that it has identified several shortcomings in its compliance with NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting Requirements.”
Honda claims it had internal reporting problems because of computer and data errors.
- Data entry errors
- Computer coding errors
- Incorrect regulatory interpretation
It turns out that Honda failed to report accidents for 11 years, from 2003 to 2014. It also failed to report warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns during the same time period.
Did Honda’s failure to report cause more injuries and deaths?
Automakers are required to report injury and death claims to the NHTSA to protect consumers. Manufacturers and safety administrators are supposed to carefully review the claims and determine if there are any defects or manufacturing issues that are causing the problem. This way, they can pinpoint and correct defects before they injure or kill others.
The crux of the matter is that if Honda reported the accidents in a timely manner, it might have prevented injuries and deaths. For instance, at least eight of the claims Honda failed to report involved vehicles containing Takata airbags, a defective airbag now known to explode and harm occupants.
It’s unclear, of course, whether Honda’s reporting of the accidents would have led to an earlier recall of the Takata airbags or any other defective parts.
Hefty Penalties for Honda
Honda has a safety responsibility shared by all automakers. For its violation, the NHTSA is imposing $70 million in fines on Honda, the maximum amount allowable.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release, "Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to – no excuses…These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road."
Injured in an accident in Clarksburg? We Can Help
If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a vehicle you suspect was defective (whether manufactured by Honda or not), our injury attorneys at the Miley Legal Group may be able to help. Contact us in Clarksburg for a free consultation at (304) 931-4088.