Missouri drivers may have been at risk of a dangerous automobile accident due to another automobile defect not reported to consumers by Toyota in a timely fashion. Recent documents uncovered in the Toyota recall debacle reveal that Toyota also knew about an automobile defect in its vehicles due to cracking and breaking steering relay rods for eleven years before it finally recalled those defective automobiles. Missouri drivers were driving Toyotas for over a decade that had a potentially deadly safety defect and were at risk of losing control of their steering while driving. This could, and may have, resulted in Missouri automobile accidents with personal injury, or even death. At least 3 deadly car crashes were linked to steering rod problems in Toyota vehicles nationwide.
Records show that Toyota was repairing the steering rods for 11 years in the United States, including Missouri, before it finally recalled nearly a million automobiles in 2005. This new revelation into Toyota’s practices of handling known defects in its automobiles calls into question how promptly it reports any defects in its automobiles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation about this issue on May 10, 2010. Manufacturers of vehicles are required to report any defects in their automobiles within 5 business days to the NHTSA. Toyota recalled the vehicles in Japan in 2004, and reported to the NHTSA that the problem with the steering rods was isolated to Japanese vehicles and none sold in the U.S. In 2005, Toyota also recalled several models sold in the U.S. The documents show that although Toyota told the NHTSA that there was no problem with the U.S. vehicles, Toyota had in fact been repairing vehicles in the U.S. for that very same problem for 11 years under the vehicle warranty.
In January 2010, Toyota recalled 2.3 vehicles due to unintended acceleration because of sticky gas pedals or gas pedals getting stuck under the floor mats of the car. It became clear that Toyota knew of this defect long before it reported it to the NHTSA, and Toyota paid a $16.375 million fine in relation to the unintended acceleration problem its vehicles had, due to their untimeliness in reporting the problem. This is the largest civil fine imposed by the NHTSA. The NHTSA issued a warning to all Toyota drivers to beware of problems with their cars, and advised drivers of what to do if their car is accelerating out of control and will not stop.
Drivers in St. Louis and throughout Missouri should keep themselves apprised of the latest information regarding Toyota recalls and safety issues. For more on this issue and to keep up with the latest information, please visit the NHTSA website.