You may remember the whole Toyota unintended acceleration fiasco of 2010 when millions of Toyotas had their gas pedals shaved down or replaced and they had floor mats removed. It was because Toyota’s gas pedals had a tendency to stick, causing the vehicles to accelerate without necessarily having one’s foot on the pedal.
Looking back on the incident, most recalls were for Toyota vehicles; very few were Lexuses. However, by June 2o12, Toyota had finally recalled its 2010 Lexus RX 350 and 450h for such maladies. And now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a fine of $17.35 million for the late recall of the two last unintended accelerators.
But, as Toyota notes, it does not admit violating the U.S. Safety Act.
In the world of the NHTSA, automakers can often submit to paying fines without admitting fault. Toyota has recalled every vehicle affected by its poorly designed accelerator pedals, at least that we know of.
“Toyota is dedicated to the safety of our customers, and we continue to strengthen our data collection and evaluation process to ensure we are prepared to take swift action to meet customers’ needs,” says Toyota’s North American chief quality officer, Ray Tanguay, in a statement. ”We agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a time-consuming dispute and to focus fully on our shared commitment with NHTSA to keep drivers safe.”
Recently, the NHTSA raised the maximum allowable fine to $17.35 million from $16.375 million per incident. Toyota has already paid more than $32 million in belated recalls related to the unintended acceleration incidents in a flood of recalls that grounded more than million vehicles in the U.S. back in 2010.