Looking for smoke signals on the horizon?
By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press 5:43 p.m. EST January 8, 2015
WASHINGTON – Honda North America will pay $70 million in fines — the largest amount in fines ever levied against an automaker by federal regulators — for failing to disclose more than 1,700 death and injury claims, as well as warranty claims, as required under federal law.
The fines were meted out in two $35-million amounts, the maximum allowed by law, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a call with reporters Thursday. Last year, Honda, as it investigated a defect associated with Takata air bags, told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an outside audit found the more than 1,700 unreported claims.
One of the $35-million fines was for the lack of reports during an 11-year period under the Early Warning Reporting (EWR) requirements. The other was for failing to report data under warranty or customer service campaign claims as required under federal law. NHTSA uses data from the reports to help determine if safety recalls or other actions are needed.
Foxx and new NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said Honda agreed to the fines and a consent order requiring it to put in place safeguards to ensure EWR requirements are met in the future. Honda has said data entry and computer problems were to blame, at least in part, for the lapse.