Feds Hit Takata With $70M Fine For Defective Airbags
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday it would fine auto supplier Takata $70 million for its defective airbags that have caused seven deaths and nearly 100 injuries.
Regulators announced that an additional $130 million fine could be levied on the supplier if they do not comply with additional safety standards or if more defects are found.
“For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers, or the public,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history. Today’s actions represent aggressive use of NHTSA’s authority to clean up these problems and protect public safety.”
In addition to the fines, NHTSA said it would scrutinize further operations by the supplier. As part of the consent order with the company, Takata agreed that it had failed to recall faulty airbags, and lied to investigators and the public.
The safety authority said it would appoint an independent monitor for the company for the next five years.
Additionally, NHTSA said it would speed recalls of defective airbags, which were fitted into 19 million cars made by 12 different automakers. In all, NHTSA said 23 million inflators could be affected.
“Today, we are holding Takata responsible for its failures, and we are taking strong action to protect the traveling public,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. “We are accelerating Takata recalls to get safe air bags into American vehicles more quickly, ensuring that consumers at the greatest risk are protected, and addressing the long-term risk of Takata’s use of a suspect propellant.”
NHTSA said it would replace high-risk airbags by June 2016 and all affected airbags would be removed by 2019.
Cantankerous on Nov 04, 2015
My first impression upon hearing the $70 million figure was that, although large compared to previous fines, it was pretty small considering the scope and heinousness of Takata's deceipt. However, upon further reflection I'm guessing that the Feds wanted to avoid levying a fine so large it would guarantee bankruptcy, both so that Takata will remain in business long enough to manufacture replacements for all those defective airbags (my family alone owns *three* affected vehicles) and to make sure there'd be some money left over for the inevitable host of civil suits.
TrailerTrash on Nov 04, 2015
I don't want to start trouble, but I do have an honest question. What good are airbags? If worn, would not shoulder safety belt do everything an airbag would do without causing further damage to the face and head...as I understand airbags do? I understand there is some weakness to the designs of shoulder/chest belts, but could these not be addressed before forcing the use of airbags which do work only with explosions of hard material into faces? Could not the belts be better improved to perform more safely than airbags? The most dangerous airbag, IMO, is the front off the wheel or dash. Perhaps limiting them to window drop down or foot-well explosions would be a much better government demand than forcing the explosions into passenger faces. This was, after all, all government driven.
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