Automaker agrees to pay $29 million for defect in accelerator pedals
Pennsylvania is part of a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corporation over allegations the automaker concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Thursday.
A news release said Toyota agreed to pay $29 million to settle consumer protection claims and agreed to provide additional restitution and incentives to vehicle owners. As a result, Pennsylvania will receive $900,000, and Toyota will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such claims.
“This is a very important settlement, because it will promote safety,” Kane said. “It addresses our concerns that Toyota was not doing enough to warn drivers about a potentially devastating danger.”
In the filed complaint along with the settlement agreement, the states allege Toyota engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to promptly disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals. The investigating state attorneys general determined poor communication between Toyota’s headquarters in Japan and Toyota officials in the United States was partially responsible for Toyota’s failure to report known safety issues promptly, according to the release.
During settlement negotiations, emphasis was placed on ensuring changes in the corporate culture and corporate chain of command to enhance Toyota’s responsiveness to regulatory agencies in the U.S., and Toyota has agreed to ensure that officials and officers of its U.S. operations have timely access to information and the authority to fully participate in all decisions affecting the safe operation of Toyota vehicles advertised and sold in the U.S., the release said.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office led the investigation, and the following states and U.S. territory participated in Thursday’s settlement: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The settlement is in the form of a consent petition. It is being filed in the Commonwealth Court and will require court approval.