U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today a $14,000 per day fine against airbag manufacturer Takata, effective immediately, for failing to fully cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) ongoing investigation into the company's defective airbags.
The inflators in the Takata airbags in question can explode with excessive force, ejecting metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers upon airbag deployment. At least six people have been killed worldwide as a result of the problem. Millions of vehicles containing the defective Takata airbags have also been recalled.
Secretary Foxx made this announcement at his first stop on the last day of his 'GROW AMERICA Express' bus tour, highlighting the importance of investing in America's infrastructure and encouraging Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.
"Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata's failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Secretary Foxx said in a press release. "For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine. But, it's not enough. I am asking Congress to pass the GROW AMERICA Act which would provide the tools and resources needed to change the culture of safety for bad actors like Takata."
Late last year, NHTSA issued two Special Orders to Takata requiring the company to provide documentation and other material relating to the agency's ongoing investigation into the defective airbags. Takata has not fully cooperated with the investigation.
In response to Secretary Foxx's announcement today, Takata said in a statement that "We are surprised and disappointed by the DOT/NHTSA letter and press release today, and we strongly disagree with their characterization that we have not been fully cooperating with them."
Consumers can determine if the vehicle they plan to rent or buy has an open recall that needs to be addressed by using NHTSA's free VIN look-up tool on safercar.gov where uncompleted recalls are quickly and easily identified by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).