As the result of an investigation into Honda’s failure to report more than 1,700 accidents from 2003 to 2014, Honda was fined the largest amount in U.S. history. The following takes a look at Honda’s violation and the present and future consequences the company faces.
Failure to Report Under Early Warning Reporting Laws
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all automakers report serious accident and death claims, including Honda. Auto accident data can help the NHTSA decide whether a defect or problem exists with the vehicle. It can use this information to determine whether it needs to issue a recall to prevent further accidents.
Honda failed to report 1,729 accidents that resulted in either serious or fatal injuries to victims. It will face $70 million in fines – one $35 million fine for failing to report the accidents and another $35 million fine for failing to report certain warranty claims. The failure to report occurred over the course of more than a decade, from 2003 to 2014.
What’s more, some serious or fatal accidents involved Honda vehicles containing Takata airbags. According to reports, eight of the 1,729 accidents that Honda didn’t report involved exploding Takata airbags that shot shrapnel through the vehicles. At least one Honda driver died in one of these accidents in 2009. The Takata airbags were subject to a widespread recall in 2014.
Who’s liable for injuries caused by a vehicle defect?
Automakers and any auto parts manufacturers have an obligation to manufacture a product that is safe for the consumer. When a defect in a vehicle is present, the automaker has a responsibility to report the defect immediately and possibly recall the vehicle or part. Those harmed by the defect may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
It’s not clear if Honda’s reporting of the 1,729 accidents would have led to an earlier recall of any vehicles or parts. It blames the failure on computer and data errors, but the NHTSA says this doesn’t negate responsibility for the failure. In any case, consumers harmed by what they suspect were defective vehicles may explore taking legal action.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney if Hurt
If a defective product hurts you – or has hurt you previously – contact an attorney to review your options to recover damages. At Max Meyers Law PLLC, we will evaluate your case for free and help you pursue compensation if you have a qualifying case. To get started, call us at 425-399-7000 or fill out our contact form.