Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Honda admits failing to report deaths, injuries.

The AP (11/25, Krisher) reports from Detroit that Honda “is admitting that it failed to report more than 1,700 injury and death claims about its vehicles to U.S. safety regulators, a violation of federal law.” Honda, “in statements issued Monday, also said it became aware of the omissions in 2011, yet it took about three years to take action.” The Japanese car maker “said it filed documents detailing the lapses on Monday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which had demanded an explanation on Nov. 3.” The agency “said at the time that Honda may have failed to report incidents related to air bags made by Takata Corp. as well as other defective parts.” Honda “should get the maximum fine for ‘massively’ violating the law, said Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit watchdog group,” and he added that because Honda “hid more claims than it reported,” NHTSA “should refer the case to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation.”
        Bloomberg News (11/25, Plungis, Green, 1.94M) reports that eight of the 1,729 unreported claims involved the Takata airbag ruptures, though the automaker said NHTSA was aware of the incidents. Honda “blamed the underreporting on ‘inadvertent data entry or computer programming errors’ that spanned 11 years.” The Center for Auto Safety “accused Honda last month of not reporting at least two injury-and-death incidents related to air bags” and “called for the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation.” Bloomberg notes that this violation “would be one of the biggest in history and could lead to a fine of $35 million.”
        The New York Times (11/25, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) reports that the audit, “commissioned by Honda and conducted by an outside law firm, was done several years after an employee noted the problem and regulators later raised the issue.” The admissions “have the potential to bring millions in federal penalties and were made during a separate investigation by regulators of faulty airbags made by the Takata Corporation that Honda has linked to five deaths and dozens of injuries.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a hearing on December 3 “to investigate the faulty airbags, a person briefed on the committee’s activities said.”

        Similar coverage included the Detroit (MI) News (11/24, Shepardson, 504K), USA Today (11/24, Woodyard, 9.86M), the AP (11/25, Krisher), Reuters (11/25), the Washington (DC) Post (11/24, Halsey, 4.9M), and NBC News (11/25, 3.76M). 

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