The US federal government said on Friday that it will be fining the Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. $14,000 a day for failing to fully cooperate in an investigation into defective airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wrote in a letter to Takata that it did not “fully or truthfully” respond to orders to hand over documents and information related to the defective airbags.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, said:
“Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Foxx said.
“For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine.”
Some Takata airbags, when deployed with too much force, can release deadly shrapnel at passengers.
In the US over 18 million vehicles with faulty Takata airbags have been recalled.
The defect has been linked to at least six deaths worldwide so far.
“Takata is neither being forthcoming with the information that it is legally obligated to supply, nor is it being cooperative in aiding N.H.T.S.A.’s ongoing investigation of a potentially serious safety defect,” the letter said.
Takata “disappointed” by agency’s letter
Takata issued a statement saying that it was “surprised and disappointed” by the agency’s letter.
“We strongly disagree with their characterization that we have not been fully cooperating with them.”
Takata claims that it has handed over 2.5 million pages of documents so far.
“We remain fully committed to cooperating with N.H.T.S.A. in the interests of advancing auto safety for the driving public,” the company said.
Senators John Thune and Bill Nelson urged Takata to be more cooperative about the investigation.
“We are extremely troubled by the Department of Transportation’s report that Takata is not fully cooperating with such a serious safety investigation,” the senators said in a joint statement.