More investigations are coming to Toyota, due to steering issues. The latest one involves a recall that the company had issued five years ago for steering system defects in several of its models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is probing the possibility that Toyota delayed announcing the recall in the United States, even after it became aware of a potential problem in the vehicles.
In 2004, Toyota recalled a number of its vehicles from the Japanese market. The vehicles included the 4Runner SUVs, Hi Lux pickups and T100 pickups. That recall was linked to a possible steering system defect. The steering system could break off, and the motorist could lose control of the car. The company however did not move immediately to announce a recall in the United States. The US recall was only announced in 2005, a full 11 months after the Japanese recall. It’s this delay in the American recall that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating. These steering issues could be fatal for a driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires that auto companies report any defects in their vehicles to the agency. This information must be provided to the agency within five days after the company finds out about the defect. The agency is looking into why Toyota delayed the recall in this country.
Toyota says it has a simple explanation for this. When the problem first surfaced in Japan, the company assumed that the problem was limited to Japan because of the unique driving conditions in that country. On congested Japanese streets, there was likely to be increased wear and tear on the steering rod, and this could cause it to break off. American cars however, would not be so susceptible to the steering rod collapse.
Obviously, California car accident lawyers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have not been taken in by this explanation. When it announced the recall in Japan, Toyota must have known that it was likely that the problem could be replicated in America. Unfortunately, the company chose to ignore the problem. It only acted to initiate a recall in the US after three deaths linked to the steering rod breakdown, were confirmed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Allegations of delayed reactions to major safety issues have raged against an embattled Toyota in recent months. The company has been accused of choosing a “wait and watch” approach when it learns of potential problems in its vehicles, instead of informing consumers of these problems and recalling the vehicles. The same attitude was clear to see in the sudden and unintended acceleration crisis surrounding Toyota vehicles. Many experts believe that if the company had acted in time where it first found out about the sudden and unintended acceleration problem in its vehicles, more than 100 lives would have been saved.
Toyota is also looking at the possibility of having to pay more fines in addition to the $16.4 million it has already paid to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Reeves Law Group is a law firm with offices throughout California dedicated exclusively to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of recalled products. Please visit our website at http://www.robertreeveslaw.com/. If you desire a free consultation on a personal injury matter, please call us at (800) 644-8000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Reeves Law Group is not representing any party in the matters discussed in this posting.