Honda Motor Company has agreed to pay $70 million in fines to resolve allegations that it failed to report over 1,700 deaths linked to potential car defects from 2003 – 2014. The civil penalties stem from underreporting deaths related to defective Takata air bags.
As previously reported by Cory Watson on this site, millions of vehicles have been recalled by various manufacturers including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan and Mazda for issues with defective Takata airbags. It is alleged that Honda systematically underreported deaths to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) with claims that Honda reported just 28 deaths in 2013 compared to 1,716 and 1,774 by GM and Toyota respectively. In the first quarter of 2014 Honda reported just 6 deaths compared to 505 by GM and 377 by Toyota.
Honda officials have claimed they misunderstood the company’s reporting obligations and they tried to tie the underreporting to “computer programming errors and inadvertent data entry” issues that prevailed for more than a decade.