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Toyota Reportedly Fails To Comply With Federal Requirements, Pays Fine

According to recent articles, Toyota executives found themselves vowing to have learned their lesson by having to deal with the hundreds of mishandled complaints regarding its vehicles’ issues related to floor mats but may have not been able to keep up with their promise.

The reports indicate that after it was noticed that floor mats in certain Toyota cars could trap accelerator pedals, hundreds of complaints were reported but little was officially done until the congressional committee stepped in. According to the news, Toyota reportedly changed its management and improved its procedures to prevent similar issues in the future.

Now, reports show that the Japanese automaker agreed to pay a $17.35 million fine on top of the $49 million in fines it paid in the past due to the company’s failure to make reports of complaints related to its floor mats public. U.S. auto safety regulators reported that owners of all units of 2010 Lexus RX350 sport utility vehicles were having the same issue as consumers with the Toyota cars the company promised to repair in 2010.

In June, the Japanese automaker expanded its previous recall to include Toyota Land Cruisers. Overall, 164,601 cars were recalled due to the same issue.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that all automakers are required to recall vehicles within five business days of the uncovering of the issue. Reports show that the issue may be with the fact that complaints do not necessarily lead to the discovery of issues. In most cases, the automaker received the complaints and launches an investigation to identify exactly what’s wrong with the vehicles. The NHTSA reportedly requires carmakers to issue recalls promptly even for problems discovered to not pose a serious safety threat.

Due to this fact, the agency has become more rigid with its inspections and the enforcement of standards required by law, especially if the company has been known to hide details regarding defective cars from the federal agency in the past. The NHTSA was only able to push the automaker to issue the recall after its agents reportedly asked Toyota about the floor mat issues with the 2010 model year of the Lexus RX SUVs. After the inquiry, the automaker revealed that about 63 complaints concerning the floor mats had been received up to that moment.

The 2010 Lexus RX350 and RX450h and the 2008 through 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser models were added to the recall announcement.

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About the Author
The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.