Honda fined for $70 million, the Obama administration announced early in January. Why? The company failed to abide by the important national safety guidelines for accident reporting. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted an investigation and discovered that Honda had failed to report 1,729 injury and death claims over the last eleven years.
Honda Fails to Report Accidents
Automakers are required to report all their vehicles’ accident claims that involve injury and/or death to the NHTSA. The purpose of this is to allow a chance for manufacturers and national safety administrators to review the details of each accident and determine if there are any defects with the vehicle.
Honda disregarded these laws. The company admits to having failed to report the accidents. They say the reason for underreporting were data and computer programing errors. Even if that is 100 percent true, it still doesn’t excuse the company from the consequences of their actions, the NHTSA announced.
Failure to report over 1,700 accidents is just one rule Honda broke. They also failed to report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns. 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.”
Honda Shirks Auto Safety Responsibility: Consequences
The most important natural – and most regrettable – consequence of Honda’s failures is that innocent people were injured and killed as a result. If early accidents had been reported, manufacturing errors could have been identified and resolved, and future accidents could have been prevented. This is because a vehicle manufacturer can be held liable for defects that cause accidents.
Other consequences include the following.
- $35 million fine for failing to submit early warning reports
- $35 million fine for failing to report warranty claims
- Potential liability claims from injured consumers
- Loss of public trust
- Potential future criminal charges from the Department of Justice
- Stiffer compliance requirements and audits
- Increased oversight by the NHTSA (NHTSA administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind stated: “Our ongoing oversight will ensure compliance and determine if there is cause for additional actions.”)
The $70 million combined fine is the highest fine ever levied against a U.S. automaker. The NHTSA isn’t taking Honda’s actions lightly. The news of Honda’s fine “sends a very clear message to the entire industry that manufacturers have responsibility for the complete and timely reporting of this critical safety information,” explained Dr. Rosekind.
Learning More about a New Jersey or Pennsylvania Manufacturer Defect
If you’re ever involved in an accident that was caused by either a negligent person or company, you’re welcome to call our injury attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC for help. Contact us for a free consultation at 215-642-2335.