NHTSA probes failure of Honda to submit documents regarding defective airbags

Article by Andrew Christian, on November 6, 2014

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a special order to American Honda to “investigate the extent and scope” of the carmaker’s failures to report deaths or injuries tied to potential auto safety defects. Honda is being accused of failing to report at least two incidents linked to faulty airbags made by Takata Corp.

In documents posted on its Web site, NHTSA said it is concerned that Honda’s reporting failures go beyond the Takata incidents. The agency added that it has received information from Honda indicating that the carmaker may have failed to comply with its TREAD reporting obligations.

Carmakers are required by law to report every vehicle accident involving a death or injury on a quarterly basis using the Early Warning Reports. NHTSA said that “Early Warning Reporting” information is one of many data sources that the agency depends on to spot possible defects.

It noted that Honda as well as other carmakers are legally obligated to report such information to NHTSA, which failure “will not be tolerated.” Honda announced in mid-October that it has tapped an outside firm to probe its Early Warning Reporting practices.

Honda’s announcement came after the Center for Auto Safety watchdog group disclosed that the Japanese carmaker did not report at least two incidents of death or injury tied to the faulty Takata airbags. Honda is now required by the NHTSA to provide by Nov. 24 written responses to questions and documents detailing how the carmaker handles Early Warning Reports as well as to release the results of the probe.

NHTSA has also required Honda to disclose all death and injury claims it is aware of since 2003 that were omitted from EWR reports. Honda could be fined up to $35 million if it fails to comply with NHTSA’s probe.

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