NHTSA Orders More Documents From Honda About Takata Recall

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
nhtsa orders more documents from honda about takata recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding more satisfaction from Honda in as many days over the automaker’s role in the ongoing Takata airbag recall crisis, asking for more documents in a second request.

Detroit Free Press reports the agency issued a 15-page special order to Honda, demanding every last document and communication the latter had with Takata about the supplier’s defective inflators, as well all internal documents about the automaker’s related recall efforts by December 15. The new request follows one made earlier this week, one with a deadline of November 24.

In a statement, Honda said it has had “regular communications with the NHTSA regarding the issues addressed in the special order,” and is fully cooperating with the agency. On the other side, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman offered this proclamation:

We are compelling Honda to produce documents and answer questions under oath relevant to our ongoing investigation into defective air bags made by Takata. We expect Honda’s full cooperation as we work to keep the American public safe.

Takata itself is also facing the business end of the agency’s shotgun, as the supplier must answer a 36-question survey about where everything went wrong in the airbags’ production, as well as how many replacement units it made, and how quickly it can make more. The deadline for the survey is December 1.

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  • Charliej Charliej on Nov 06, 2014

    I am confused here. Honda did not design the air bag inflators. Honda did not make the air bag inflators. Honda, along with anumber of other companies, did install the air bag inflators. Can anyone tell me why Takata's failure is Honda's fault? Especially the one's that were not installed in Honda cars. Is the NHTSA just looking for a scapegoat to try and hide their ineptitude? Or are they just that incompetent? I would appreciate any one who has an answer or idea to try and explain it to me, because I just don't get it.

    • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Nov 07, 2014

      It sounds like Takata knew it had an issue with the airbags and communicated that with Honda. If Honda knew there was an issue and didn't do anything, the regulators are going to hit them too. It's not a fair assessment to call the NHTSA inept when one party has consistently deregulated everything in sight and cut the funding to the regulators who remain. It's easy for them to complain that government doesn't work when they're busy trying to break it.

  • Johnster Johnster on Nov 07, 2014

    1. Honda may have designed the defective airbags and the defective inflators that were used in Honda products, even though they did not manufacture them. Such arrangements are common. 2. Honda appears to have violated laws which require auto manufacturers to report safety-related parts failures and complaints about defective safety-related parts to the NHTSA (even though Honda did not manufacture the defective part). If the problems with defective Takata airbags had been reported to the NHTSA promptly, the NHTSA could have ordered Takata to stop the production of the defective airbags years earlier, and ordered the recall of vehicles with the unsafe defective airbags, thereby saving several several people from unnecessary deaths, and saving several hundred people from unnecessary airbag-caused injuries. It has been reported that company insiders say that Takata knew about the problem as far back as 2004. Companies (such as Honda) who bought Takata's defective parts should have been able to figure out that there was a problem with the Takata airbags being defective about that same time or fairly soon after. Honda is Takata's largest single customer and there are more Honda products on the road with potentially defective Takata airbags than those of any other manufacturer. Logically, Honda should have been the first manufacturer to notice the problem and should have been the first to report it to the NHTSA. 3. Honda does have a responsibility to use safe parts in their products. If Honda knew that the Takata airbags were defective, but continued to install them in their products, then Honda has a heap of legal liability to the people killed and injured by those defective airbags. Honda might have chosen to find a different supplier for airbags, instead of sticking with Takata, and they might want to change suppliers in the near future. Early reports of Honda drivers being killed by defective Takata airbags in the early 2000s were said to be "anomolies" by Honda and Takata. Perhaps Honda was negligent in failing to recognize that the Takata airbags were defective, or perhaps Honda is guilty of covering up the problem and letting it grow. 4. It also appears that Honda has been slow in recalling the vehicles that have defective Takata airbags, allowing a lot of these vehicles to remain on the road, unrepaired. Honda expanded the number of vehicles recalled late Thursday. It certainly would not be surprising to see Honda expand the recall several more times. 5. The NHTSA ordering more documents from Honda is only a case of trying to figure what Honda knew and when. It's typical and common and really not a big deal. (Unless there's a smoking gun in those documents, which is unlikely.) It may well be the NHTSA was slow in recognizing the problem, but ordering information from Honda is hardly a case of looking for a scapegoat. It may be late in the game, but it appears to be a case of determining responsibility and holding the people and corporations responsible for the problem accountable. These particular actions by the NHTSA are certainly not yet, in themselves, indicative of ineptitude or incompetence by the NHTSA. (There are certainly other instances in the past in which the NHTSA has acted with ineptitude and incompetence, but based on what we know about the scandal involving Honda and Takata airbags, this isn't one of them.)

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