Automakers must report known defects as well as their vehicles’ involvement in serious or fatal accidents. When a car company doesn’t report the above, more people may suffer injuries than would otherwise. That’s why Honda is facing the largest fines ever levied against an automaker by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Car manufacturing companies are required under federal law to submit early warning reports, called EWRs, to the NHTSA. The carmaker Honda, though, failed to report more than 1,700 accidents to the NHTSA over an 11-year period. Not only that, but the automaker also failed to report necessary warranty claims during the same period.
It’s unclear whether this failure to report the accidents could have cost lives. Some wonder whether reporting the accidents would have led to a product recall that might have prevented further accidents. For the time being, it’s unknown whether that was the case.
While Honda is facing the biggest fine in history – $70 million – it’s not the first car company to fail to exercise its safety responsibility and face fines as a result. In May of 2014, General Motors was hit with a $35 million fine for failing to provide information to the NHTSA about defective ignition switches. The GM debacle involved 10 years of delays in reporting, as well as at least 42 deaths. Other automakers have found themselves in similar positions.
According to Honda, the error was a mistake based on computer and data errors. Whatever the cause, Honda has 60 days beginning December 29, 2014, to provide the NHTSA with more details regarding the 1,729 death and injury claims.
Some of the details that Honda will have to prove the NHTSA will include details about eight serious injuries/fatalities involving Honda vehicles containing Takata airbags. The airbags were subject to a massive recall in 2014 for ejecting shrapnel during deployment, which could injury vehicle occupants, severely and fatally in some cases.
If a defective vehicle causes an accident resulting in injury for you or a loved one in Dallas, consult with an attorney. An attorney can explain to you how product liability law works and why the automaker may be liable for your injuries. Call the Law Office Of Julie Johnson PLLC at 214-290-8001 or use our contact form to set up a consultation.