Bisnar | Chase Comments on Massive Fine: Toyota Corp. is fined $17.35 million for delaying recall for floor mat issue.

California auto products liability attorney talks about the penalty faced by Toyota Motor Corporation. According to a Dec. 18, 2012 NHTSA report, the Japanese automaker has agreed to pay a record fine of $17.35 million for failing to report in a timely manner, a serious safety defect relating to floor mats that could cause vehicles to suddenly accelerate.

toyota floor mat recallToyota Motor Corporation has agreed to pay up an unprecedented $17.35 million fine for failing to report a safety defect to the U.S. government in a timely manner. According to a Dec. 18 NHTSA report, the fine is linked to a safety recall involving 154,036 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX450h vehicles in June to address a risk of loose floor mats that could force down the gas pedal causing sudden or unintended acceleration . This is the highest fine ever for not issuing a recall in a timely manner, the report states.

Toyota has agreed to the settlement without admitting any violation of its U.S. safety obligations, the NHTSA report states. NHTSA contacted the automaker in May after it noticed a trend of floor mat pedal entrapment in vehicle owner questionnaires, but was not told by Toyota until a month later that there were 63 alleged incidents and that it would launch a recall, the report states. Under federal law, automakers are required to notify the agency within five business days to determine that a safety defect exists and to conduct a recall, a Yahoo! report notes.

"Delaying a recall can have devastating effects for consumers," said John Bisnar, founder of the Bisnar | Chase personal injury law firm. "It is the legal responsibility of automakers and all product manufacturers to make consumers aware about any safety defects and potential hazards."

Bisnar said that a timely recall is not an option, but a serious public safety matter. "These issues cannot and must not be taken lightly. It's necessary in order to save lives and prevent injuries. A fine of this size clearly sends a message to automakers that delays in reporting potential hazards or defective parts will not be tolerated."

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