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NHTSA fines Takata $14K/day for failing to cooperate

by Justin King

NHTSA officials claim Takata has not yet fully cooperated with the airbag inflator investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has levied daily fines against Takata, accusing the company of being uncooperative in the ongoing investigation into exploding airbag inflators.

The Japanese supplier faces a $14,000 daily penalty -- the maximum allowed by law -- until it satisfies the demands of NHTSA investigators. The company has provided millions of documents, but regulators suggest the unindexed 'dump' of paperwork has only hindered the investigation.

"Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata's failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine."

Foxx is also using the Takata debacle in an attempt to gain support for the Obama Administration's "Grow America" transportation funding bill. He argues that the daily fine is "not enough" and further enforcement leverage is needed. The legislation would increase the maximum fine from $35 million to $300 million, while tripling the Office of Defects Investigation budget.

"I am asking Congress to pass the GROW AMERICA Act which would provide the tools and resources needed to change the culture of safety for bad actors like Takata," Foxx added.

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