In the past several years, there have been a rash of reports showing vehicle defects. In 2010, Toyota made headlines for its “sticking gas pedal” defect. The defect allegedly caused accidents leading to 34 deaths, according to data gathered by the National Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota paid $48.8 million in 2010 for the sticky pedal and other issues.
Now, Toyota and several other automakers are again paying fines and recalling thousands more vehicles for possible defects.
Toyota will pay $17.35 million in civil penalties for failing to alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to a vehicle defect “in a timely manner,” according to the NHTSA. The amount is the maximum fine legally allowed for the violation. The defect occurs in the floor mat in a Lexus model; the floor mat may snag the gas pedal and cause unwanted acceleration.
Ford is currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to problems with the design of its floor mats, as well. The mats, if not completely secured, have the potential to catch the gas pedal and accelerate the car. No accidents have been reported because of this issue yet, but they are certainly possible. 52 complaints have thus far been lodged.
In addition, Mercedes Benz has recalled almost 6,000 vehicles that may have a fuel leak. The issue affects multiple models. Fuel leaks are a particularly serious issue as they can cause an engine fire, leading to burns and other injuries.
Consumers should be increasingly wary of the safety of their vehicles. Many Americans make their vehicle purchasing decisions based upon the vehicle’s safety features, such as side airbags, traction control, and rearview cameras. Nonetheless, any vehicle can have a defective part or design, no matter the number of safety features advertised. Such defects can seriously compromise the safety of the vehicle, leading to a greater risk of accident and injury. If a person is injured by a defective vehicle, they may have a products liability claim.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees the safety of vehicles in America. The administration may order manufacturers to recall defective vehicles and also supervises the recalls. Since its creation, the NHTSA has recalled over 390 million vehicles to reduce potential accidents and protect citizens.
Source: “Toyota Motor Corp. Will Pay Record $17.35 Million in Civil Penalties for Alleged Violations of Federal Law” published at NHTSA.gov