Honda hit with record-setting $70 million fee; drivers remain unfazed
Honda Motor Co. has been hit with a record-setting $70 million fine after failing to report more than 1,700 injuries, deaths, and warranty claims linked to their vehicles. While this is the largest penalty ever imposed on an automaker by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car-buyers seem unfazed.
Honda has agreed to pay two fines, each for $35 million, for underreporting the number of injuries and deaths in their vehicles, as well as for the number of warranty claims, from 2003-2014. The number of injuries and deaths related to Honda’s vehicles is more than double what the company had initially reported.
The fines imposed on Honda were the highest allowed by law. This reflects the government’s “tough stance” on auto safety issues, continuing the trend we have seen over the last year. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says last that the NHTSA issued more fines last year than in the rest of its entire history put together. Foxx stresses that automakers have a responsibility to American drivers, and reporting safety concerns – and doing so in a timely manner – is an extremely important part of that responsibility. Automakers are required by law to report information such as injuries, deaths, and warranty claims though an “Early Warning System.” This information is then used to help identify widespread defects and determine if additional action, like a recall, is necessary.
Interestingly, while Anthony Foxx and the NHTSA might be cracking down on Honda, consumers do not appear to be similarly concerned. Honda reported record sales in 2014. According to the Guardian, Honda sales are still up, and Honda is still a trusted brand, despite its series of safety issues this year. In addition to its failure to report safety concerns, Honda was also the automaker most affected by faulty Takata airbags. The airbag defect caused Honda to recall over five million of its vehicles. Despite the negative press surrounding Honda, it is still a favored brand among many loyal American consumers. And, this trend is likely to continue, as the 2015 versions of some of Honda’s most popular models have earned the IIHS’s Top Safety ratings.
Honda’s representatives have attributed the oversight to data entry errors and stated that in 2015 the company will implement better training methods for its employees in an effort to prevent future mistakes.
Hopefully, the fines and recalls that have plagued the auto-industry over the last year will prove to be indicative of a larger trend in which safety is becoming more of a focus.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident or truck accident in a vehicle that was recalled or defective, contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to discuss your legal options. Our consultations are absolutely free. We can be reached at 855-866-5529.
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