Honda Admits To Sweeping Airbag Injuries And Deaths Under Rug, Could Face $35 Million Fine

In what could be one of the biggest violations ever, Honda Motor Co. admitted that it had failed to report more than 1,700 claims of injury or death to US regulators from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2014. Because of the company’s negligence, it could be fined $35 million.

According to an internal review that was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Honda blamed its under-reporting of the incidents to “inadvertent data entry or computer program errors.” During the aforementioned time period, Honda had only reported 1, 144 serious injury claims with the omissions only being revealed due to the recent investigations focusing on the airbag recalls by Takata Corp.

“The audit identifies difficult facts where we did not meet our obligations,” said Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek to reporters on a conference call. He added that there would be staffing changes as well as retraining for the company’s workers.

Honda Car
Image Source: Flickr (Rennett Stowe)

When it comes to fines, automakers are fined $7,000 per violation per day when they fail to abide by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act. It requires that companies inform regulations about customer lawsuits, warranty claims, complaints, and injuries. $35 million is the maximum fine for violating the Act but, up until now, the biggest fine leveled at a car company was Ferrari SpA for $3.5 million due to the company failing to file information on alleged defects and three deaths.

The NHTSA audit is still occurring with no date being revealed as to when it will be concluded.