Takata fined $14,000 a day for failing to cooperate with feds
Transportation Secretary: Airbag Supplier's Conduct Is 'Unacceptable'
The Auburn Hills, MI,-based company is being fined $14,000 per day, the Department of Transportation announced.
"Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata's failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine. But it's not enough."
Foxx is citing Takata's defiance in his stump for the Obama administration's Grow America Act, which would nearly triple funding for the enforcement division within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and hike the agency's overall budget to $908 million annually. The act's passage is needed to "change the culture of safety for bad actors like Takata," he said.
Takata did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Its ongoing airbag defects have become symbolic of the industry's lax attitude toward safety problems and NHTSA's inability to compel changes. Automakers have issued more than two-dozen recalls for Takata's defective airbags since 2001. More than 10 million cars have been affected.
Congress held hearings on the defective airbags, which have been installed in the cars of at least six automakers. Over the years, Takata and the affected automakers have offered several explanations about the root of the problem, and some automakers have projected there are more recalls still to come related to defective airbags.
In November, The New York Times reported Takata carried out secret tests on defective airbags in 2004, but never reported the results to federal investigators. Late last year, NHTSA issued two special orders that required Takata to provide documentation and other material related to the agency's ongoing investigation.
Takata's faulty airbags explode in car accidents instead of deploying normally. In some cases, drivers have been showered with lethal amounts of metal shrapnel which caused them to bleed to death.
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