The Japanese automaker, Honda has admitted that it did not report around 1,729 injuries and deaths to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) between 2003 and 2014. According to the automaker, the underreporting was unintentional and caused due to computer programming errors.
The unreported cases are even higher than the 900 injuries and deaths, which were duly reported in the last 12 year. This was discovered after the automaker requested an outside law firm to audit its reporting procedures, the New York Times reports. The underreporting issue was also highlighted in the investigation of faulty Takata airbags, which caused five deaths and dozens of injuries.
In 2000, the NHTSA enforced an Early Warning Reporting system which requires automobile manufacturers to report any injuries and deaths caused due to the vehicle defects. The executive vice president of Honda North America explained that the injury and death claims without a date were omitted from the reports. However, a former NHTSA lawyer says otherwise according to him, this is a case of systematic underreporting.
This is an issue of great concern for the Japanese automaker, which might cost it in a big way. In the past, General Motors had to face a penalty of $35 million for not reporting defective ignition switches on time. Most recently, Ferrari was also fined with $3.5 million for not filing the Early Warning Report, as required by NHTSA.
According to the Japanese automaker, it has now properly addressed the programming errors that caused this whole issue. Moreover, the company is also making organizational changes in the departments responsible to file Early Warning Reports.