U.S. regulators to closely monitor Toyota's safety promise
U.S. transportation secretary, Ray LaHood met with Toyota president, Akio Toyoda, on Monday in Toyota City, Japan. LaHood pledges that federal regulators will closely monitor the automaker's efforts to make good on their promise of improved safety in their vehicles. He also said that the company could possibly be subject to more penalties from the federal government for their failure to act promptly after reports of unintended acceleration in Toyota models.
The meetings come after the recall of more than 9 million Toyota vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals and multiple U.S. Congressional hearings about unintended acceleration. In a press conference held Monday, both LaHood and Toyoda gave assurances of improved safety regulations for the company.
On April 14th, Toyota agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine imposed by the Transportation Department for alledgedly hiding information about faulty accelerator pedals and delaying a U.S. recall of affected vehicles. This is the largest fine ever handed out to an automaker by the U.S. government.
However, Toyota has not admitted fault and blames their failure to act on internal communication problems and has vowed to improve communication within the company and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Toyoda has said that consumer safety is his company's greatest concern and promised full cooperation with the federal government. LaHood says that investigation will continue as the federal government processes 500,000 internal documents submitted by the automaker.