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Wrongful death: feds fine Honda for failure to report deaths

Connecticut traffic fatalities in may also involve other causes besides driver negligence or recklessness. Manufacturers may also be liable for wrongful death in car accidents. The federal government holds an important role in helping to determine whether a vehicle has flaws that played a role in these accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) assessed Honda with two $35 million civil penalties. NHTSA charged the car manufacturer with Tread Act violations because it failed to report traffic deaths, injuries and warranty claims to the federal government.

A NHTSA investigation reported that Honda did not submit early warning reports concerning actual or possible safety issues. The first civil penalty was assessed because Honda did not report 1,729 fatality and injury claims to the NHTSA that occurred between 2003 and 2014. Honda received the second civil penalty because it did not report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction claims during that 9-year period. Honda also entered a consent order in which has to provide the NHTSA with information on the fatality and injury claims, among other things.

The Tread Act requires vehicle manufacturers to submit quarterly EWR reports of potential safety issues to the Department of Transportation. These reports have to include incidents that involve a fatality or injury, production information, aggregate figures on property damage claims, complaints from consumers, warranty claims and filed reports on specified vehicles components, fires or rollovers. The NHTSA investigates this information to determine whether there are safety defects or trends and whether there should be a vehicle recall.

In 2014, the NHTSA received a record $126 million in civil penalties. This was higher than all of the cumulative penalties that the NHTSA collected in 40 years. These penalties were also assessed against other major manufacturers that year.

Victims of a fatal car crash should expeditiously obtain legal advice to protect their rights to compensation. Legal assistance can help determine whether a negligent driver or design flaw is responsible for the accident.

Source: NHTSA.gov, "U.S. Department of Transportation Fines Honda $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public," accessed on Jan. 12, 2015

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