As the Takata airbag saga continues to play out, more and more information is coming to light about what automakers and Takata knew about the defective airbags and their connection to fatal auto accidents.
Honda, which is one of the automakers involved in the Takata airbag recall as well as Takata’s biggest customer, recently was hit with a $70 million fine, the largest penalty the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ever levied against an automaker, for not reporting Takata airbag-related deaths.
According to The Guardian, the $70 million fine is in connection to two issues:
- Over the past 11 years, Honda failed to report 1,729 claims concerning injuries and deaths in accidents involving its vehicles.
- Under-reporting warranty claims over the same 11-year period.
While the NHTSA fine seems massive, remember that Honda collects around $120 billion in revenue annually. A $70 million fine may fail to deter Honda and other automakers from pulling stunts like this in the future. NHTSA knows this, but currently there is a cap on how much money it can penalize automakers.
Why Would Honda Not Report Takata Airbag-Related Deaths?
In some cases, automakers, if they believe they can get away with it or that the fine is worth the risk, will put profits above the safety of consumers. As product liability lawyer Mike Eidson explains in the video below, when automakers prioritize their bottom line over the lives of their customers, it can lead to them knowingly selling a defective product or not reporting accidents involving product defects as soon as possible or at all.
Colson Hicks Eidson – Injury Attorneys