Takata To Be Fined $14K Per Day Until It Cooperates With Airbag Defect Investigation

takataOfficials with Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corp. have continuously said they would assist U.S. regulators in their investigation regarding millions of potentially defective airbags that can spew pieces of shrapnel at passengers upon deployment. But the company doesn’t appear to be keeping its word and now faces a $14,000 per day fine until it hands over documents and other data pertinent to the investigation into airbags that have been linked to at least five deaths.

Bloomberg reports that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Friday that Takata hasn’t fully complied with agency requests for data related to its airbags.

Takata could face a total maximum fine of $70 million for its failure to cooperate.

“Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Foxx said in a statement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the defective airbags in June 2014 after five automakers – Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Chrysler – began recalling millions of vehicles.

According to Bloomberg, NHTSA asked Takata to answer questions in special orders on October 30 and November 18 of last year.

So far, regulators say Takata has produced 2.4 million pages of documents, but did provide specific answers to the agency’s questions.

“We have concluded that Takata is neither being forthcoming with the information that is it legally obligated to supply, nor is it being cooperative in aiding NHTSA’s ongoing investigation of a potentially serious safety defect,” the agency said.

The hefty daily fines are just another chapter in the saga over Takata’s airbag defect.

Back in November, NHSTA urged automakers and Takata to issue a national recall of potentially affected vehicles.

At that time the recall only applied to areas in the U.S. that are considered to be of high-humidity including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

While all of the major automakers eventually complied with the request, Takata maintained they wouldn’t initiate the national recall, in part because they don’t believe that NHTSA has the power to order such an initiative and because testing hasn’t shown what’s really behind the issue.

Numerous reports have shown that Takata – which uses an unusual chemical explosive in its airbags – was aware of issues with deployment for years before recalls began.

The automaker is now the center of a number of criminal investigations and lawsuits from families of victims.

Previously, NHTSA fined Honda $70 million for over a decade’s worth of inaccurate death and injury reports. That investigation stemmed from the car company’s failure to report several injuries and deaths related to the Takata recall.

U.S. Will Fine Takata $14,000/day for Resisting Air Bag Probe [Bloomberg]

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