A third-party audit has uncovered some revealing details about Honda’s safety reporting practices.
Since 2003, Honda has failed to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of 1,729 claims of injury or death that took place in its vehicles. This may result in a $35 million fine from NHTSA. The Japanese brand cites three key areas where the system failed: Data entry errors, coding errors and narrow regulatory interpretation.
For data entry errors, Honda says that it not enter a date in the “written claim received” field, which caused the computer to overlook those claims. The coding errors occurred because the computer system didn’t link Honda’s parts codes to NHTSA’s codes. Finally, Honda says it used an overly narrow interpretation of the law which did not consider third-party documents obtained through associates as reportable.
This under-reporting violates the TREAD Act, which requires manufacturers to report, by number, warranty and property damage claims received from customers to NHTSA.
The audit was a result of the current Takata airbag investigation, which is looking defective airbag inflators in many automaker’s vehicles. In total, eight claims related to airbag inflators were not reported by Honda, but NHTSA was aware of them independently.
Honda has already made a number of steps to correct these issues, including correcting the computer programming issue, changing policies, implementing new training, enhancing oversight and reprogramming warranty and property claims information.
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