The United States has fined Japan's Honda Motor Company a record $70 million for failing to report hundreds of deadly accidents and customer complaints to safety regulators over the last 11 years.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that Honda failed to disclose 1,729 accidents in which deaths and injuries occurred involving Honda vehicles from mid-2003 to the middle of last year. In addition, it said the automaker neglected to report warranty and customer satisfaction claims that car buyers filed with Honda.
The U.S. did not say how many of the accidents resulted in deaths. But regulators said eight of the incidents involved Takata Corporation air bags that exploded, sending shrapnel into the vehicles, killing or seriously injuring their occupants. The faulty air bags have been the subject of widespread recalls and investigations in the U.S.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that Honda and other automakers "have a safety responsibility they must live up to -- no excuses."
U.S. highway safety regulators have referred the Honda report to federal prosecutors, who now will decide whether to bring criminal charges in the case.