Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it failed to report 1,729 pieces of information related to vehicle safety problems over more than a decade. Under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act enacted in 2000, automakers must provide so-called Early Warning Reports (EWR) of any car crashes or injuries that could be due to a defect with the vehicle.
The TREAD Act was enacted after Firestone tires were linked to Ford Explorer crashes, prompting a large recall. It is designed to prevent automakers from covering up potential safety issues, and provides that automakers can be held criminally liable for deaths or injuries if the company intentionally doesn’t report them.
Honda began investigating its TREAD reporting in September, and earlier this month NHTSA asked Honda for a full report on the company’s EWR data. In a statement issued yesterday, Honda admitted that it, “did not report to NHTSA a total of 1,729 written claims or notices concerning injuries or deaths” in the company’s vehicles that occurred between July 2003 and June 2014. The Detroit News reports NHTSA could choose to fine Honda up to $35 million for its reporting errors.
The automaker says its reporting issues stemmed from data-entry problems and problems with computer programs used to track warranty and safety defect claims. If information wasn’t input in a very specific manner, the computer wouldn’t report it properly. Honda says it has corrected those problems and will institute extra training to prevent future problems.
Finally, Honda notes that only eight of the 1,729 safety problems that weren’t reported to NHTSA concerned faulty Takata airbags. In those incidents, one person was killed and seven were injured, but Honda said the accidents were “disclosed to NHTSA in detail by other means.”