November 3, 2014 / 9:59 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. opens probe into Honda reporting of Takata air bag failures

A pedestrian walks past a logo of Honda Motor Co outside the company's dealership in Tokyo October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Monday it had opened an investigation into whether Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) failed to report to the auto regulator deaths or injuries involving Takata Corp 7312.T air bags.

U.S. law requires that automakers submit to NHTSA on a quarterly basis so-called Early Warning Reporting data on every incident where they have received information about a death or injury involving their vehicles that was caused by a possible defect.

“Early Warning Reporting (EWR) information is one of many data sources we rely on to spot potential defects. Honda and the other auto makers are legally obligated to report this information to us and failure to do so will not be tolerated,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in a statement.

NHTSA is probing Takata air bags installed in vehicles made by a number of manufacturers. The air bags and inflators can explode with excessive force and spray metal shards into vehicle occupants.

Since 2008, 10 global vehicle manufacturers that use Takata air bags have recalled more than 10 million cars in the United States and more than 17 million worldwide to replace inflators that have been linked to at least four deaths and numerous serious injuries.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney

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