The Japanese automaker Honda Motor – the largest client of auto safety parts maker Takata Corp. – has announced it didn’t meet the law when it comes to dully informing the US safety regulators about fatalities and injuries linked to Takata’s airbag crisis.
Automakers in the US in 2013 and 2014 recalled at least 8 million vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags because they are equipped with an inflator that can explode and send metal debris and shrapnel flying at high velocity inside the cabin. Five deaths have been reported globally, including a pregnant woman that died along with her infant in Malaysia.
“As I look back on our activity, I think we acted with urgency,” said Rick Schostek, Honda’s North America executive vice president, during a US Senate committee hearing on the airbag crisis. “Have we met our obligations to report Tread? We have not.”
Following the acknowledgment that it broke US law on safety recalls – automakers need to report any safety issue within five days to the proper authorities – Honda risks a fine of $35 million if found guilty of violating the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act. The automaker said that verbal claims from clients weren’t included in the early-warning reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration until September.