Honda fined record $70M US for failing to report 1,700 death and injury claims
Japanese automaker didn't report customer complaints about Takata airbags to U.S. authorities
In the largest civil penalty ever levied on an automaker, Honda must pay $70 million US to the U.S. Department of Transport for failing to report more than 1,700 death and injury claims and warranty claims involving its vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the release today saying Honda failed to submit early warning reports identifying potential safety issues.
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Honda has been fined $35 million for failing to report 1,729 death and injury claims to the NHTSA between 2003 and 2014 and another $35 million for failing to report warranty and customer satisfaction claims over the same 11 years.
The automaker is also required to develop written procedures and a training program that will ensure it complies with NHTSA requirements in future.
Failed to report airbag injuries
Among the complaints Honda failed to report were injuries and customer claims related to airbags made by Takata Corp. The airbags can deteriorate under humid conditions and injure car occupants with shards of metal.
Honda has issued a North America-wide recall to fix the Takata airbags and said in a submission to the NHTSA that its entire claims procedure is under review.
Other customer complaints related to seatbelts, unintended acceleration and brakes.
The NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties to automakers in 2014, more than it had issued in its entire history.
Among them were the $35-million fine against General Motors for failing to report its ignition switch fault in a timely manner and $17.3 million against Hyundai Motor America, also for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the fines reflect the government's determination to take a tough stance against automakers who withhold safety information from regulators.
"What we cannot tolerate and will not tolerate is an automaker failing to report to us any recall issues," Foxx said.
With files from The Associated Press