Toyota faces record fines for vehicle defects

North Carolina drivers are aware of the dangers of driving this time of year but maybe not so up-to-date on the dangers that a possible defect in their Toyota may bring in being injured by a defective car in North Carolina. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys are happy to report that Toyota is making good financially on the dangers they have placed on drivers with defective parts in their vehicles.

However, the settlement will not cover those who have been injured or killed as the result of an accident with a defective Toyota. That will require the assistance of a personal injury attorney or wrongful death lawyer.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Toyota Motor Corporation will be paying penalties in the amount of $32.425 million for their lack of communication and recall on two separate defects on certain models. The NHTSA has had Toyota under investigation for almost a year and is “pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty” said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The first investigation resulting in a $16.375 million penalty, was regarding floor mats and their ability to affect the accelerator pedal in certain models of cars like the Camry, Corolla, and Avalon to name a few. The floor mats were causing the gas pedal to be entrapped and forcing the car to speed up rather than being able to stop or slow down. Toyota did recall 55,000 vehicles back in 2007 as a result of this defect but two short years later there was a fatal accident in California involving the gas pedal getting stuck by floor mats meant for another vehicle that forced the NHTSA to look into the matter more seriously.

The investigation that began in February of this year recently determined that Toyota was obligated by law to recall and inform the NHTSA within five business days of knowing about the defect and failed to do so. Though Toyota has recalled over 5 million cars with this problem, the end result is the hefty fine that will be paid to the Treasury Department for the mat defect causing cars to accelerate.

A second investigation involving whether Toyota reported a steering rod defect in certain models was also concluded recently with another large penalty of $16.050 million. Back in 2004, Toyota found Hylux trucks in Japan had a steering wheel defect where the rod was apt to break or crack and could cause loss of steering wheel control. Toyota only found defects in Japan and indicated to NHTSA that no reports for models in the United States were found. This was opposed in 2005 when several consumers reported the same steering rod defect in their United States model. The NHTSA began the investigation as a result and found that Toyota withheld information and didn’t recall the vehicle when they found support of the defect in US models.

It’s difficult to know what defects, if any, will show up after you purchase a vehicle but it’s the responsibility of the automobile maker to report these defects. Failure to do so can lead to more preventable accident causing serious or fatal injuries.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective car in North Carolina, rely on the Law Offices of Lee & Smith for expert advice. Call for a free initial consultation at 800-887-1965.

Contact Information