Toyota to Pay $1.2 Billion in Criminal Penalties Over Unintended Acceleration Problems After Investigation Revealed Toyota Concealed Information and Misled Consumers

Last week, the Justice Department announced that Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to settle the criminal probe over Toyota’s handling of unintended acceleration problems that began in 2009.  After 8.1 million Toyota vehicles were recalled for this dangerous defect, Toyota will now pay the largest U.S. criminal penalty ever imposed on a car company.  The investigation revealed that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about safety issues.

In 2009 Toyota advised the public it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration through a limited safety recall when n fact Toyota had conducted internal tests revealing that certain of its unrecalled vehicles bore design features rendering them just as susceptible to floor mat entrapment as recalled vehicles. (See Toyota Statement of Facts)

Click here to read the full article: Toyota to Pay $1.2B to Settle Criminal Probe

The federal criminal probe looked into whether Toyota provided false or incomplete statements to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the events leading to recalls for floor mats that could trap gas pedals and gas pedals that could stick.  The criminal probe chronology shows that the sudden acceleration problems were discussed within Toyota for some time without regulatory reporting.  The Toyota Statement of Facts reveals that Toyota concealed from its regulator a safety related problem with accelerators getting stuck at a partially depressed level and minimized the scope of another safety related problem where accelerators became entrapped at fully or nearly fully depressed levels by improperly secured or incompatible floor mats.

Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Today, we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls. Put simply, Toyota’s conduct was shameful.”

This settlement by Toyota may pose as an ominous sign for General Motors, who is currently under the microscope due to faulty ignition switches that could switch off.  This GM defect has been reported involved in 13 automobile fatalities.

Americans rely on their car manufacturers to provide a safe well-designed vehicle.  Sadly, that is not often the case.  The Auto Defect Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm has successfully represented many people injured from defective Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, Volkswagens, GM products and numerous other manufacturers and suppliers.  Often times, people involved in accidents do not examine the issues of defective vehicle design nor whether the car was truly crashworthy – does it contain the appropriate crash protection.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.

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