The third-largest Japanese automaker, Honda Motor Co., admitted recently it under-reported to US safety regulators no less than 1,729 claims of injuries and deaths linked to crashes occurring in its vehicles since 2003.
This is a serious offense, and one punishable under US law, because the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandates by law that any such accident, which involves potential safety hazard, should be brought forth within five days since the automaker becomes aware.
The Japanese company – usually seen as highly reliable and safe – acknowledged that after it saw the count of underreported claims in a third-party audit it decided to notify the authorities of the errors. The carmaker added in a statement that “various errors related to data entry” and the use of an “overly narrow interpretation” of its legal reporting requirements were the root cause for the failure.
“I haven’t got a detailed report yet, but it seems there were a lot of administrative mistakes on the ground,” commented Honda CEO Takanobu Ito on the sidelines of an event in Japan. Honda’s US division made the discovery as it replied to a November 3 order from the NHTSA, which sought answers to why the company had trouble fulfill its legal obligation to report deaths and injuries, especially when it comes to the Takata airbag recalls.