In a recent report published by USA Today, Federal Automobile Safety Regulators are reportedly assessing a total of $70 million in fines against the automobile giant, Honda for alleged violations of federal safety reporting requirements. This fine which comprises two separate ones according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were set at the maximum penalties that NHTSA is allowed for safety-related reporting violations by the Congress.
According to the report, the first fine levied against Honda by NHTSA had to do with the automobile giant’s failure to report 1,729 deaths and injury claims to NHTSA from 2003 to 2014. Honda had reportedly disclosed the undercount initially and said their own investigation revealed a misinterpretation in the actual issues that should have been counted. According to NHTSA, the second civil penalty relates to the failure of Honda to report certain warranty claims and claims under “customer satisfaction campaigns,” in which a manufacturer agrees to fix car defects which are outside the regular warranty period, over the same number of years.
These fines show that NHTSA, an agency under the Transportation Department, is taking the issue of safety more seriously. “Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to, (which is) no excuses,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary in a recent statement.
Honda however made a statement on Thursday saying it plans on moving ahead after the fines: “We have resolved this matter and will move forward to build on the important actions Honda has already taken to address our past shortcomings in early warning reporting,” says Rick Schostek, executive vice president for Honda North America, in a statement. “We continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA to achieve greater transparency and to further enhance our reporting practices.”
NHTSA, which previously penalized General Motors with a single $35 million fine for not reporting ignition-switch defects in older Chevrolet Cobalts in a timely manner shows that NHTSA is taking a tougher stance against violation of the law in order to ensure American roads are safer than its ever been.