By on December 18, 2012

Toyota has agreed to make a payment of $17.35 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is “to settle claims related to the timeliness of its June 2012 recall to address the potential for accelerator pedal entrapment caused by unsecured or incompatible driver’s side floor mat in the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, without admitting to any violation of its obligations under the U.S. Safety Act.,” as a Toyota statement says. 

Toyota keeps making contributions to NHTSA’s funding. In 2010, Toyota was fined three\ times the maximum penalty of 16 million for violations stemming from pedal entrapment, sticky pedal and steering relay rod recalls.

Federal law requires that auto manufacturers notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect exists. Says the NHTSA:

“In early 2012, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation began noticing a trend in floor mat pedal entrapment in 2010 Lexus RX 350s in Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs) and Early Warning Reporting data. In May, NHTSA contacted Toyota regarding the trend, and a month later Toyota advised NHTSA that it was aware of 63 alleged incidents of possible floor mat pedal entrapment in Model Year 2010 Lexus RX 350s since 2009. Toyota’s own technicians and dealer technicians reported that certain alleged incidents of unwanted acceleration had been caused by floor mat pedal entrapment.”

Next year, the maximum fine NHTSA can assess will double to $35 million. Lawmakers wanted to raise the maximum fine to $300 million at some point, but the matter got stuck in committee.

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16 Comments on “Ka-Ching: Toyota Pays NHTSA $17.36 Million...”

  • avatar

    I guess the title has different rounding methods than the article.

    Or should I say rou”nd43#ng.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I believe Talleyrand referred to this as a ‘doceur’. Alas, there seem to be no Pinckneys in Toyota management.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Sounds like the automotive equivalent of Protection Money.

    Pay us this smaller sum up front and we’ll look the other way.

    • 0 avatar

      The criteria were laid out in advance and they didn`t follow the rules. I know they have had several large scale recalls in the past few years so it may be hard to keep up with them all.

      Most not to do with floor mats.

  • avatar

    Was it ever determined that senior citizens and police officers were more easily confused by Toyotas (vs. other modern cars) or was it just confirmation bias?

  • avatar

    Just like they pay up consumers bringing in there rusted out frame breaking Tacoma’s and Tundras towards the purchase of a new Toyota truck to keep everybody quiet and looking the other way.

  • avatar

    And what does the NHSTA do with this money?

  • avatar

    Well, the markets don’t seem to care, considering Toyota’s market capitalization has gone up by 4.3 BILLION since this morning…

    $17 million, really? Chump change for Toyota. What’s that per car sold? Virtually nothing.

  • avatar

    They’ve learned a valuable lesson. Give the stupid Americans money-whether they deserve it or not–and they’ll quit squawking.

  • avatar

    Too bad that this Money could not be paid towards the USA debt that the USA owes the Peoples Republic of China, that way it might help Cars from China entering the USA?

  • avatar

    I honestly don’t understand the mechanics of how a gas pedal gets stuck under a floormat. And are the people driving Avalons and Lexus RXs constantly putting the pedal to the floor?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s become the standard excuse for any incompetent that gets into an accident in a Toyota to blame that. It’s all about personal responsibility, but tell that to the people who drive with flip flops or high heels on…

    • 0 avatar

      If the floormat is thick enough that the pedal can contact it, and if the floormat contains flexible ridges that can bend to allow the pedal edge to catch the backside of any ridge, then it will happen pretty easily if you floor it.

      I happened to me once while I was flooring it when driving my mother’s Sunfire GT with aftermarket winter floor mats. I trimmed the mat for her to prevent it from happening in the future. No big deal though, since you wouldn’t be flooring it if there weren’t a clear road ahead, and it only takes a fraction of a second plus reaction time (ideally another fraction of a second) to pop it into neutral.

  • avatar

    With a fine that low, they’ll probably be tempted to repeat.

    Ford got screwed out of a lot more money on a totally fake recall case then Toyota did on this.

  • avatar

    Toyota tops 2012 recalls, Honda in 2nd place:

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