The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, announced Monday that it is investigating whether Japanese automaker Honda Motor provided incomplete reports on deaths and injuries that occurred in its vehicles due to various causes, including the explosion of faulty air bags manufactured by tainted supplier, Takata.
According to U.S. federal law, automakers are required to report any claims alleging that defective vehicles or parts of the vehicles caused a death or injury. The companies are expected to submit such claims every quarter, while also providing authorities with details of complaints, production information, warranty claims and other incidents. NHTSA said Monday that Honda might have failed to provide convincing reports on incidents related to Takata air bags and other defective parts of its vehicles, the Associated Press, or AP, reported.
“Honda and the other automakers are legally obligated to report this information to us and failure to do so will not be tolerated,” David Friedman, NHTSA’s deputy administrator, said in a statement, obtained by the Wall Street Journal. NHTSA “has received information indicating that [Honda] failed to report incidents involving Takata air bags, which resulted in a death or injury, and for which claims were asserted against Honda.”
The agency has given Honda three weeks to respond to questions about how the company sought and registered reports on accidents for more than a decade, Reuters reported, adding that Honda must answer Monday's order, which includes 34 points, under oath. Failure to do so could cost the company up to $35 million, or $7,000 a day.
Meanwhile, Honda issued a statement on Monday evening stating that it had launched a third-party audit in September of “potential inaccuracies” in its reporting of deaths and injuries involving its vehicles. About Takata air bag recalls, the company said that it has “maintained a dialogue with the NHTSA for several years.”
Last Friday, NHTSA ordered a $3.5 million civil penalty against Ferrari as the company allegedly failed to provide quarterly reports related to three death claims, AP reported.
Last week, both Takata and Honda were sued by a driver in California over millions of vehicles that may have been fitted with defective air bags made by the Japan-based component supplier. The plaintiff sought damages on behalf of the owners of about five million Honda and Acura models that have been recalled till date in the U.S.