05/12/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley
Washington D.C.—Toyota is under fire yet again over allegations that the automaker delayed a recall of about one million truck and SUVs for defective steering rods. The new investigation was launched in part by the death of an Idaho teenager who was killed while driving a Toyota vehicle, as reported by ABC News.
Levi Stewart, 18, was killed when his Toyota truck rolled in 2007. About three months following his death, a “long-delayed recall notice from Toyota arrived in the mail at the Stewart home.” The notice stated that in the worst case scenario, the steering relay rod might fracture, causing the driver to loose steering control, increasing the possibility of a crash. Levi’s family subsequently sued Toyota for product liability and failure to warn. They believe that Toyota knew of the defect long before the fatal accident and should have issued a recalled in the months prior to the accident. Levi’s parents say the crash was attributed to the defective steering rod.
Toyota issued a recall in Japan in October 2004 of 330,000 vehicles to replace the steering relay rods. A U.S. recall was not issued until a year later in September 2005, when the automaker finally acknowledged that the rods were prone to breaking under stress.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the claims that numerous Toyota owners had complained about the rods before 2004.
Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley- Legal news for product liability lawyers.