Honda Fined for Failed Vehicle Recalls and Personal Injuries

NHTSA Fines Honda Maximum Penalty for Failed Vehicle Recalls, Safety Information, and Causing Personal Injury

failed vehicle recallsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Honda Motor Corp’s US subsidiary $70 million, the maximum possible fine, for failed vehicle recalls, failing to report safety information or issue voluntary vehicle recalls over eleven years, which led to thousands of personal injuries and wrongful deaths for consumers.

In November, Honda reportedly admitted to the NHTSA that it violated two sections of federal law, passed in 2000, which requires automakers to disclose safety information, including potential defects that could lead to vehicle recalls, to the NHTSA. Violating one section can lead to a fine of up to $35 million – Honda agreed to pay the $70 million for both fines.

“We’re talking about 11 years — 11 years of information we did not have — and it is egregious,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He said it didn’t matter why Honda failed to follow the law. “Good intentions don’t help the automaker,” Foxx said, saying NHTSA is taking a “very aggressive posture … We have to continue to do better on our end but we sure want to send a signal very clearly to the industry that they have an end to this responsibility to take on as well.”

Sens. Richard Blumental, D-Conn., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a joint statement NHTSA’s record fine sends “a warning signal to all auto companies that they should take their safety reporting system into the shop for a tune-up. Reforms are still urgently needed to hold car companies accountable and provide more information to the public so they can be protected from fatal vehicle defects.”

The NHTSA has taken a much tougher stance on automotive manufacturers for failed vehicle recalls and personal injury caused by defective products in the last year, especially after General Motors notified the public that older model vehicles, beginning in model years 2004-2005, had such serious problems with the ignition switches that at least 13 consumers had died in crashes. GM failed to issue a vehicle recall until 2014.

The Honda fine involves 1,700 complaints to the NHTSA, and the safety agency says it is still reviewing data from the Japanese automobile manufacturer. “We need the safety data … to determine if there are defects that need recall action,” new NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekindsaid. “That’s exactly why this information is so critical for us to have.”

A large part of Honda’s problem involves faulty Takata airbags, which many other automobile manufacturers have used in the past as well. All major vehicle manufacturers, including GM, BMW, Mazda, and Nissan, have issued vehicle recalls for models they know have Takata airbags inside. In November, Takata refused to follow NHTSA warnings and issue its own safety recall, insisting that US federal law requires automobile manufacturers to issue vehicle recalls, not the product manufacturer. Meanwhile, Honda has said in several statements that the company accepts fault for its part in safety failures.

“Seventy million dollars is a start,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. “But we still need automakers to step up and take care of consumers with defective airbags, and we need regulators to insist on more timely and accurate reporting of possible safety defects.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury and Vehicle Recalls

If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accident or personal injury, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.

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