Toyota Pays $10m For Fatal Crash
By Khushnood Nabizada - Sat Dec 25 2010, 11:00 am
(BBC) – Toyota has paid $10m (£6.5m) to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus car in the US in 2009.
The amount, agreed in September but kept confidential, was released by a lawyer for the dealership that lent the Lexus to the family.
Toyota, which did not admit or deny liability in the settlement, said in a statement it was disappointed the amount had been made public.
The crash triggered a series of recalls involving millions of Toyota models.
The car maker said in its statement: “As is common in these cases, these parties agreed to keep the amount confidential, in part to protect the families from unwanted solicitations and to allow them to move on from this difficult period.”
The accident which killed off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife, their daughter and Mr Saylor’s brother-in-law happened in August 2009.
They were killed when their car accelerated to over 120 mph (190km/h), leading it to collide with another vehicle and crash off an embankment, eventually bursting into flames.
Investigators discovered that a faulty floormat trapped the accelerator and caused the crash.
Toyota recalled millions of cars after the accident to replace their floor mats.
That was followed by a second recall involving replacing pedals that it said could stick.
On Monday, Toyota agreed to pay a record fine in the US of $32.4m (£20.8m) over its handling of millions of car recalls.
This is the second big fine the world’s largest carmaker will pay to US authorities, after agreeing a $16.4m penalty in April.
Heightened awareness of Toyota vehicles meant subsequent recalls – a common occurence with motor vehicles – took on a high profile.
The publicity has not appeared to dampen the carmaker’s popularity. It remains the world’s biggest-selling producer, and its most recent profits, for the second quarter, had doubled compared with last year’s.