The popular Japanese automaker, Honda, failed to submit important data regarding serious accidents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for over more than a decade. Now, the carmaker is facing some serious fines.
Two-part Violation Results in Two Major Fines
The NHTSA came down hard on Honda in January 2015. The agency fined the automaker $70 million for its failure to report critical crash data to the NHTSA. The maximum fine amount is $35 million, a toll that General Motors had to pay in 2014 when it too failed to report vital information about ignition switches.
However, Honda will have to pay double what GM did. Honda received a two-part fine because of its two-part violation. First, Honda failed to report more than 1,700 death and injury claims to the NHTSA since 2003. It also did not report warranty claims during the same 11-year period.
Early Warning Reporting Essential
The law that Honda violated was based on the car manufacturer’s failure to report under a system known as Early Warning Reporting, or EWR. The system was established after a series of serious and fatal accidents involving Ford vehicles. By reporting serious or fatal car accidents early, the NHTSA can issue recalls if it deems the vehicle dangerous or containing a defective part, protecting other drivers’ and passengers’ lives.
A Delay in Taking Action
Honda said that it failed to report the information to the NHTSA based on computer and data errors. However, according to media reports, Honda was aware of potential errors in reporting several years ago, but failed to take action until 2014. As such, some are calling for a criminal investigation.
Some are wondering if Honda’s failure to report the serious and fatal accidents allowed others to suffer the same fate. Had the NHTSA been privy to certain data, it might have been able to issue a recall to prevent further accidents, some argue. It’s not clear at this moment whether that is the case. But it is worth noting that some of the accidents Honda didn’t report contained Takata airbags now subject to a widespread recall.
Contact an Attorney for Help Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
If an accident involving a defective vehicle harms you, you may have grounds to pursue a lawsuit for damages against the carmaker. To explore your legal options if you’re in an accident or if you suspect a defective Honda or other vehicle already caused your accident, call the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Reach our offices as soon as you’re ready at 215-642-2335.