Honda fined $70 million for not reporting Takata airbag defect
Posted on January 14, 2015 in Product Liability
AS leaders in the area of auto safety and passenger protection we have been following the Takata airbag recall story in the press, and are involved in the litigation against Honda as a result of the defective airbags. Millions of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags were part of a massive recall due to a defect in the safety devices.
Takata airbags, which are supposed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a frontal collision, were documented to inflate with too much force, because the propellants were improperly made and stored. This could cause shrapnel to explode into people’s bodies in a frontal collision. Many people have been injured or killed as a result.
Takata airbags made up a major share of the market, and several top automakers put them in their vehicles. Among them was Honda, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has accused of covering up complaints that the airbags are unsafe. Honda has now entered into a consent decree agreeing to pay a recently $70 million civil fine — the largest civil fine ever imposed on an automaker.
The fine comes after finally Honda admitted that it had reports that the airbags were defective going back as far as 2003. Those reports were not sent NHTSA as they should have been. Honda blames the omission of more than 1,700 incident reports on data entry errors and “regulatory interpretation,” among other things.
However, the company also acknowledged that it became aware of its reporting problems in 2011, but did not fix the issue for three years. One wonders how many serious injuries might have been avoided had Honda taken action sooner.
Many victims and their families are taking legal action against Takata for distributing a dangerous, defective product. Automakers like Honda, who seem to have covered up the defect, may also be liable for victims’ injuries.
We have files an action against Honda regarding the Honda airbag defects. Consumers with questions should contact Walkup partners Doug Saeltzer or Khaldoun Baghdadi if they have questions.