Honda Motor Co’s U.S. subsidiary, American Honda, has agreed to pay two $35 million fines, totaling $70 million, after failing to report hundreds of injuries, deaths, and other complaints related to its products, according to a recent article the Huffington Post.
The agreement follows an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The investigation sought evidence that Honda had violated the agency’s Early Warning Reporting regulations, which obligate automakers to report information about injuries, deaths, damage, and warranty claims within a certain time period.
The purpose of the reporting system is to spot possible hidden defects in vehicles more quickly, so that recall notices can be issued and steps can be taken to protect vehicle owners from serious harm. Experienced Colorado auto product liability lawyers rely on such systems to help reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths suffered when a vehicle contains a dangerous hidden defect.
Last November, Honda stated that, between July 2003 and June 2014, it failed to report 1,729 cases involving death or serious injuries. Eight of the unreported incidents involved the defective Takata Corp. air bags that have already been subjected to national recalls and a NHTSA investigation.
The automaker claimed that it had failed to report due to problems with its data entry and computer programming systems, as well as due to difficulties interpreting the federal regulations that require early reporting. In addition to agreeing to pay the fines, Honda has also announced it will create new training programs for staff, change the way it handles internal reports, and improve oversight of its early warning reporting processes.