The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined Honda (IW 1000/29) a record $70 million for failing to report driver deaths, injuries and vehicle complaints to the government, regulators announced Thursday.
The agency imposed a $35 million fine on the giant Japanese automaker over its failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to the agency between 2003 and 2014.
A second $35 million penalty was issued for not reporting warranty claims from customers over the same time period.
The NHTSA's statutory maximum penalty for a violation is $35 million. The two simultaneous fines together amount to the largest one-time penalty ever imposed by the NHTSA on an automaker.
"Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to -- no excuses," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
"These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road."
US federal law requires automakers to submit quarterly reports to NHTSA on accidents and injuries so that the agency can determine if safety defect trends warrant additional action or investigation.
The NHTSA settlement requires Honda to upgrade its reporting systems, establish employee training programs on reporting accidents and provide detailed information on the 1,729 death and injury claims.
The fines come as Honda and other automakers undertake recalls of millions of vehicles made with Takata airbags linked to at least five deaths.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015