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Takata Issued NHTSA’s Largest Civil Penalty

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Nov. 6, 2015—The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) imposed the largest civil penalty in its history by fining Takata $200 million and imposing a five-year oversight period following Takata’s violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The NHTSA has also used its authority to accelerate recall repairs for the millions of affected vehicles for the first time. Recalls are prioritized so the greatest safety risks are addressed first.

“For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers, or the public,” said Anthony Fox, transportation secretary. “The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history. Today’s actions represent aggressive use of NHTSA’s authority to clean up these problems and protect public safety.”

The Consent Order issued to Takata imposes a record civil penalty of $200 million and requires the company to phase out the manufacturing and sales of inflators that that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant, which is believed to be a factor in the explosive ruptures that have caused seven deaths and almost a hundred injuries in the U.S. The Consent Order also lays out a schedule for the recall of vehicles on the road unless the company can prove they are safe or show why inflators are prone to rupture.

“Today, we are holding Takata responsible for its failures, and we are taking strong action to protect the traveling public,” said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator. “We are accelerating Takata recalls to get safe air bags into American vehicles more quickly, ensuring that consumers at the greatest risk are protected, and addressing the long-term risk of Takata’s use of a suspect propellant.”

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