Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest producers of automotive airbags, was handed down a penalty which could cost them up to $200 million. The civil penalty was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this week and is the largest such penalty in the agency’s history.
The penalty is related to its defective airbag inflators, which can shoot out shrapnel-like fragments, injuring people inside the vehicle. Over 34 million vehicles across many manufacturers have been recalled as a result of the problem.
In a press release issued Monday, the NHTSA stated that Takata failed to notify the agency of the problem in a timely manner, and used misleading and inaccurate data in their reports. This is the result of an investigation that had been ongoing for several years. Major automakers, including Honda and Toyota, have dropped Takata as a supplier as a result of the scandal.
The penalty is composed of three parts. First, a $70 million fine must be paid in cash. Another $60 million will be fined if Takata does not complete its recall by the end of 2018. Finally, any future violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act will result in an additional $70 million penalty.
The company is also ordered to improve their overall safety culture. Under a never-before used authority to enforce remedial intervention, the NHTSA is assigning a third-party group to monitor Takata’s compliance to safety regulations for the next five years. The agency stated their authority for this resides in the 2000 TREAD act, which allows them to accelerate safety recalls if people’s lives are at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a faulty Takata airbag, you might be entitled to compensation. The Baton Rouge injury lawyers at Simien & Simien, LLC have been monitoring the issue and will be able to inform you of your legal rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.