Investigation Into Honda’s Inaccurate Death And Injury Reports Closed

Image courtesy of Jacki Vance-Kuss

Eighteen months and $70 million later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed a probe into Honda’s failure to report over 1700 injuries and deaths over a period of 11 years without further penalties against the carmaker. 

NHTSA announced Monday that it would close the book on the investigation, first initiated in November 2014, after Honda fulfilled its end of a previously agreed upon settlement, the Associated Press reports.

The deal included the payment of $70 million in fines. The figure was made up of two $35 million fines.

One is the maximum penalty for failure to report the deaths and injuries — calculated at $7,000 per violation per day — and the other for failing to report warranty claims.

The agency said on Monday that in addition to fulfilling its financial obligation, Honda had also taken steps to ensure that similar failures don’t happen in the future, including creating a written procedure for reporting deaths and injuries and had to train its personnel on early-warning reporting requirements.

Car manufacturers are required under law to report death and injury claims to NHTSA. Those figures allow the regulatory agency to identify potentially fatal and dangerous defects.

In November 2014, Honda announced that it had conducted an internal report as response to criticism from consumer safety groups over Honda’s lack of reporting. The groups claimed that Honda’s reporting inaccuracies hampered regulators ability to spot safety defects, leaving dangerous vehicles on the roadways.

Shortly after, NHTSA announced it would begin a third-party audit into Honda’s reporting practices. The regulators have yet to make the report they received from Honda on Monday public, citing the ongoing investigation.

Issues with Honda’s reporting came to light over the Takata airbag defect and subsequent recalls. So far nine of the ten of the deaths tied to the recall in the U.S. occurred in Honda vehicles.

US ends Honda probe for failing to report deaths, injuries [The Associated Press]