NHTSA Neither Knows Nor Seems to Care Whether its Fines are Tax Deductible
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NY Times reports Honda hit with record fines of $70 million (2 fines of $35 million each) for not performing required reports of data on deaths and injuries to NHTSA for over a decade.
“It is the largest amount that the safety regulator has ever levied against an automaker. The penalty stems from the automaker’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to the agency for the past 11 years, and its failure to report certain warranty and other claims in the same period.
“Today’s announcement sends a very clear message to the entire industry that manufacturers have responsibility for the complete and timely reporting of this critical safety information,” Mark Rosekind, the new head of the agency, said Thursday.” See
“Last year, NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties, which was a record. The agency says the total exceeded the total amount collected by the agency during its forty-three year history.
“These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road,” Foxx said.” See
Bloomberg News reports an interesting contrast between GM and Honda that raises questions about the relative safety of the two automakers:
“GM, eager to demonstrate proactivity in the wake of the biggest recall in its history, disclosed 102 death and injury reports per 100,000 vehicles sold in 2014 through November. By contrast, Honda disclosed 2.4 reports per 100,000 vehicles sold over the same period. “
And Bloomberg further notes what may be further future actions:
“The Center for Auto Safety, a research group that has been tracking recalls and defects since it was founded in 1970, asked transportation regulators in October to refer Honda to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation. It cited a 2009 fatality and an August 2013 incident resulting in serious injury that weren’t included in Honda’s Early Warning Reports.” See
“The Center for Auto Safety responded to our inquiry:
“The Center for Auto Safety calls on the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Honda violating NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting Regulation. $70 million is too small a price to pay considering Takata airbags is one of the defects Honda failed to report under EWR. How many other deadly defects are concealed in the 1,729 death and injury claims not reported by Honda. The company must waive all statutes of limitations at the state and federal level over potential recalls or lawsuits arising out of defects concealed in the unreported claims.”
Open questions for NHTSA:
1. NHTSA has not yet responded to our inquiry as to whether its fines are tax deductible or not.
2. NHTSA has not yet responded to our request for a link to the media briefing it held today and recorded at taxpayer’s expense. It should be made publicly available.