When it comes to the brand name Toyota, most people think of reliable vehicles that retain their value better than just about any American made vehicle. While in most cases these statements are true about the brand and the quality that they provide, there is a dark truth that was exposed. In an effort to maintain their integrity many lost their lives needlessly. It begs the question of what are Americans willing to accept when it comes to consumer safety.
In the end there were over 80 deaths attributed to a defect of their vehicles. According to most lawyers and even government officials, it is likely that this number is much higher, but simply can not be confirmed due to the lack of action taken by Toyota when there first was suspicion surrounding the issue of unexplained acceleration in their vehicles.
Essentially, what this meant was that when people took their foot off the gas the vehicles either did not slow down as would be expected, or even worse, they continued to gain speed. Clearly this is a major safety hazard that could naturally lead to the deaths of those in the vehicle. To compound this problem there were also reports that after this would occur the brakes would fail as well.
As with any product on the market, there is a risk that there could be a manufacturer defect that could lead to safety hazards. This is something that we all can agree upon, however, when a manufacturer receives thousands of complaints and does not take action to recall the product and investigate the problem, they in effect become murderers. When 80 deaths are known to be the result of negligence it is easy to imagine that the real number could be ten times that given that it occurred over a ten year period.
After they were finally forced to initiate a recall in the fall of 2009 there were over 8 million vehicles on the road that were at risk of having the same defect. One must remember that not only those that drove and rode in those vehicles were at risk, but everyone traveling on the roads with them as well. Vehicle safety is a major concern in America as it stands. Knowing that a company could put so many lives at risk in the name of profits and maintaining a brand image is simply horrifying.
Since the recall Toyota has been forced to pay many millions of dollars in fines to various government agencies as well as the victims and the families of those killed at their hand, but as is true in most cases, the fines they paid do not compare to the money that they made endangering so very many lives. Until there is a system is in place that ensures that the penalties will be so severe that no company would consider trying to cover up such a hazard we will continue to see people dying at the hands of negligent, profit seeking corporations.