The federal government has stepped up its investigation of Toyota Motor Corp. in the wake of a series of recalls affecting about 8.5 million U.S. cars and trucks. On Tuesday, the Transportation Department demanded Toyota provide documents pertaining to the safety recalls, including internal communications that may reveal how seriously the company handled consumer complaints of sudden acceleration.

The federal government’s intensified efforts have been prompted by criticism from several Toyota drivers and consumer groups that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Transportation Department’s safety arm, was too lax in its regulation of Toyota.

Sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles has been reported throughout the last decade, yet the NHTSA never fined Toyota nor sought detailed records through its power to subpoena.

Some sources, such as Dimitrios Biller, a former top attorney for Toyota, allege that Toyota has been ignoring U.S. concerns for years.

“This is a company that doesn’t have any respect for the laws in the United States. This is a company that has no qualms about violating court orders, concealing or destroying evidence,” Biller told the Associated Press.

“The evidence involved would have allowed plaintiffs to take their cases to trial,” he added. “This was all done in the interest of saving money.”

Government investigators want to know if Toyota was aware of the defects that are the root of its large safety recalls – gas pedal entrapment by floor mat and sticky accelerator pedals – before, during, or after the vehicles were produced. They also seek information on whether the recalls encompassed all of the affected vehicles and are trying to determine whether Toyota knew about the problems before consumer complaints.

U.S. investigators also want to know how Toyota handled sudden acceleration complaints, how much they paid out in warranty claims, and what company executives discussed internally about the sudden acceleration issues.

The NHTSA is also investigating how seriously Toyota considered that electronics could be to blame for the sudden acceleration problem. Scientific and real-life evidence continues to point to an electronic or software glitch as the likely cause of the sudden acceleration incidents.

Toyota is also being investigated by two congressional committees. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on February 24. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the following day.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has planned a similar hearing for March 2.

Source: FOX News



We're here to help!

We live by our creed of "helping those who need it most" and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked    may be required for submission.
  1. I'm an attorney

VW sudden acceleration case explained by Beasley...

Beasley Allen attorney Mike Andrews visited Ringler Radio to discuss a case of sudden unintended...
Kendall Dunson & Mike Andrews outside courthouse after Volkswagen verdict

Federal Judge denies Volkswagen, Honeywell request for...

U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land on Tuesday denied a request from Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and...
2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year nominees, Graham Esdale, Ben Baker and Cole Portis

Beasley Allen, Toyota trial team recognized as...

Four attorneys from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., were selected as finalists for...
Nominees, Jere Beasley, Cole Portis, Ben Baker and Graham Esdale

Beasley Allen lawyers nominated for 2014 Public...

The Toyota trial team including Beasley Allen lawyers Jere L. Beasley, J. Cole Portis, R. Graham Esdale...
Toyota Settlement

Toyota pays record fine on the heels of landmark...

A settlement of $1.2 billion will be paid by Toyota
Toyota Settlement

Toyota must pay largest penalty of any car...

Record-breaking fines will be paid to resolve a four-year criminal investigation by the federal...

Lawyers and staff continue to help me

I suffered from an allergic reaction to a common medication causing permanent injury when I was 15 years old. My settlement allows me to take care of myself instead of being on disability. Even after my case was over, the lawyers and staff continue to help me.

—Tamika