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How the NHTSA is responding to Takata's unresponsiveness

As our readers may or may not be aware, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently embroiled in a standoff with Japanese auto supplier Tanaka. The NHTSA has become the subject of significant criticism over the past several years as a result of several compromised recall delays. Notably, several legislators called for hearings after it was suspected that the NHTSA was negligent in identifying and responding to the potentially fatal defects present in numerous vehicle models manufactured by General Motors.

Partially in response to this criticism, the NHTSA has begun to take a firmer stance with certain auto makers and auto part suppliers which fail to adhere to certain safety regulations and investigations. Tanaka has apparently failed to cooperate with a NHTSA investigation into its defective airbags.

Because Tanaka has failed to adequately respond to the NHTSA’s investigation, the agency has announced that it will fine Tanaka $14,000 per day until the company full and truthfully hand over necessary information and documentation related to the airbag defects. Cooperating with the NHTSA on this matter of public safety is not an optional process. Tanaka is legally required to cooperate with the agency and is failing to do so in violation of this legal mandate.

Given that millions of the company’s airbags are known to violently explode, it is imperative that Tanaka cooperates with the agency’s investigation before more individuals are harmed as a result of the defects affecting its products. The NHTSA’s fine schedule will hopefully inspire Tanaka’s cooperation and place other violators on notice of the consequences they will face if they behave similarly.

Source: New York Times, “Takata to Be Fined $14,000 a Day by N.H.T.S.A. in Airbag Investigation,” Hiroko Tabuchi and Danielle Ivory, Feb. 20, 2015

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