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NHTSA sends message to auto industry with $70 million fine

Certain government entities are tasked with ensuring the safety of the products used by consumers in Nashville and around the country. It is pivotal that these agencies collect accurate, timely data on defective products so that they can quickly inform the public of any potential dangers. When it becomes apparent that a business failed to report dangerous defects in their products, federal safety agencies may issue severe penalties in order to send a message to the rest of the industry.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Honda Motor $70 million after it was revealed that the automaker had, for over 10 years, grossly underreported deaths and injuries associated with auto defects in its vehicles. 

Mark Rosekind, head of the NHTSA, has stated that this fine is intended to send a message that the automotive industry must take responsibility for reporting safety information. Rosekind has also publicly voiced support for an increase in the maximum fine that the NHTSA is allowed to issue, which is currently set at $35 million.

At issue in this case is Honda's failure to report 1,729 claims and notices of injuries and deaths. The company received these reports in the period from 2003 to 2014. The car manufacturer has stated that the underreporting of these safety issues were not done willfully, but were the result of misinterpreted regulations as well as programming errors and problems with data entry.

Penalties issued by federal agencies regarding an auto defect and other product safety issues can be indicators that a systemic reporting problem exists. Those who have suffered a serious injury as a result of these reporting failures may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries. If you are in such a position, you may want to review the details of your situation with an attorney.

Source: The New York Times, "Honda Hit With Record $70 Million Fine for Not Reporting Deaths," Danielle Ivory, Jan. 8, 2015 

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