Honda Hit With Record Fine For Failing To Report Accidents

Honda was fined $70 million by the U.S. government Thursday for failing to report 1,729 accidents that resulted in serious injury or death.
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 08, 2015

Japanese automaker Honda is being fined $70 million by the federal government for failing to report safety issues with its vehicles over the past 11 years. 

Back in November, Honda disclosed it had failed to report more than 1,700 accidents that either resulted in serious injury or death between 2003 and 2014. It blamed a third-party audit for the issue. (Video via Honda)

In at least eight of the accidents, deaths were attributed to faulty Takata-brand air bags. 

Honda's admission that it hadn't reported any of this is extremely problematic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to report any death or injury claims it receives each quarter. 

At the time, CNN reported the NHTSA's maximum fine for a company that fails to report such claims is $35 million. 

But Thursday, the agency announced it had fined Honda twice, totaling $70 million, for failing to report the death and injury claims as well as not reporting warranty claims. 

That makes it the largest total fine the NHTSA has ever imposed against an automaker, accounting for more than half the fines the agency handed out in 2014. 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release"Last year alone, we issued more fines than in NHTSA's entire history. These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road."

The second-largest penalty levied in 2014 was $35 million to General Motors for failing to issue a recall on its defective ignition switches. 

But even though the agency is giving more fines than ever, consumer advocacy groups say the $35 million maximum fine is too small. 

The president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety told The New York Times she wants the maximum fine to be raised to $300 million. 

While the Center for Auto Safety's executive director agreed, telling Bloomberg"$70 million is too small a price to pay." The group is also calling for the government to bring criminal charges against Honda. 

As part of the penalty handed down, Honda agreed to increased NHTSA oversight to make sure it reports all required claims. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.