Old News Now but Toyota Handcuffed With Record $17.35 Million Fine
The civil penalty was imposed for alleged violations of Federal Law.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 18, 2012
The embattled automaker is climbing back and sometime in 2013 will probably outsell Ford. This news however is not helping their bottom line.
The DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Toyota has agreed to pay $17.35 million, the maximum fine allowable under the law, in response to the agency's assertion that the automaker failed to report the pedal entrapment safety defect to the federal government in the required allotted time. This represents the single highest civil penalty $ amount ever paid to NHTSA for violations stemming from a recall.
Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect exists or that the vehicle is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards and to promptly conduct a recall.
In early 2012, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation began noticing a trend in floor mat pedal entrapment in 2010 Lexus RX 350s in Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs) and Early Warning Reporting data. In May, NHTSA contacted Toyota regarding the trend, and a month later Toyota advised NHTSA that it was aware of 63 alleged incidents of possible floor mat pedal entrapment in Model Year 2010 Lexus RX 350s since 2009. Toyota's own technicians and dealer technicians reported that certain alleged incidents of unwanted acceleration had been caused by floor mat pedal entrapment.
In June, Toyota advised NHTSA that it would conduct a recall of 154,036 Model Year 2010 Lexus RX 350 and Model Year 2010 RX 450h vehicles to address floor mat pedal entrapment.
As part of the settlement, NHTSA stated the following:
Ray Tanguay, Chief Quality Officer of Toyota North America:
If there were ever a company concerned about safety, Toyota is near the top of the charts. And with the new found safety focus that began back in late 2009, they are only getting better which in turn improves other automakers safety focus as well. Case in point, check the mat anchors in “any” new car today. This is not your father’s slap in the mats and let’s goes for a ride automobile anymore…
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