CAS Statement on Takata Consent Decree and Fine
The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
November 3, 2015
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Takata Deserves Criminal Penalties
The Takata air inflator is a great Japanese tragedy that has claimed lives throughout the world. But for Honda and Takata misleading NHTSA in 2009 when the first known death occurred, ammonium nitrate could and should have been phased out then, not now. Today’s penalty of $200 million does not fit the culpability of Honda and Takata who diverted attention away from the faulty propellant toward two wayward manufacturing plants in Mexico and Washington state. Indeed $130 million is a deferred penalty that will never come due if Takata does what it should have done in 2009 – get rid of ammonium nitrate as a propellant. The real penalty today is just $70 million and an independent monitor to be named later. CAS calls on NHTSA to pick an independent monitor for Takata with no ties to the auto industry and for the Justice Department to indict and obtain a criminal conviction against Takata which it failed to do in Toyota unintended acceleration and GM ignition switch. Not until an auto company official is put in jail will automakers change their behavior. All one has to do is look at the millions of dollars auto companies spent on lobbying to keep criminal penalties out of the Safety Act from 1966 to present to realize imposition of criminal penalties is the real game changer and it still hasn’t happened.
Statement of Clarence Ditlow
CAS Executive Director
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