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Toyota Officials May Have Put Profits Over Safety

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 22-Feb-2010

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

                                                                                                                    

According to several news sources, Toyota officials apparently boasted about becoming subject to merely a limited recall in 2007 concerning defects in its automobiles. Per the CBS Evening News, the AP reported that "Toyota officials boasted last summer they saved $100 million back in 2007 when negotiating a limited recall of certain models with the federal government." The piece notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) "has received more than 2,000 complaints of sudden acceleration and 34 deaths have been blamed on Toyota vehicles" over the past decade, "according to the Detroit News, which also says the Administration was investigating Toyota for accelerator problems as early as 2003. Nevertheless, Toyota was never told to fix anything, and the investigation ended."

USA Today reports that "an internal Toyota document" states that the savings came from "getting the government to OK just replacing floor mats in 55,000 vehicles as a solution to sudden acceleration complaints. It’s listed under ‘wins for Toyota — safety group’ in the report, which is among documents obtained by a subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. That and other references to saving money on safety issues raise the question of ‘whether Toyota was lobbying for less rigid actions from regulators to protect their bottom line,’ said Kurt Bardella, spokesman for the committee’s ranking Republican, Darrell Issa of California." The document also said that "’NHTSA is more sensitive to public/congressional criticism’ and that, combined with changes in regulations, will result in ‘more investigations and more forced recalls.’"

The AP says that the documents "could set off alarms in Congress over whether Toyota put profits ahead of customer safety and pushed regulators to narrow the scope of recalls. Two House committees are holding hearings this week on" Toyota’s recalls.

I hope Congress presses Toyota officials hard on when they knew of concerns, when they reacted, how they reacted, and whether the company did, indeed, put profits over the safety of Americans.  Americans have had enough with corporate greed, which leads to serious injuries and death, while corporations pad their profits.  Let’s hope Toyota wasn’t one of those companies.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including serious truck and car collisions. He has successfully litigated numerous cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners.  His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to give presentations to lawyers and businesses regarding product defects, automobile accident litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri has authored an article regarding how automobile collision cases are evaluated.  To read it, please click here.

To read an article published by one of Mr. Zambri’s clients, who was injured in a tragic automobile collision, please click here.

Many Americans are killed or critically injured each year in vehicular collisions.  If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.  

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