Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today that Texans will be part of a $29 million settlement with Toyota over its actions after claims that various models had sudden, unexplained accelerations that endangered drivers.
Texas and 27 other states "investigated whether Toyota adequately and promptly disclosed that its voluntary recalls had safety implications for vehicle owners of its most popular models, including the Camry and Lexus sedans, the Tundra and Tacoma trucks and the Prius hybrid," Abbott's office says.
In December, Toyota agreed to a settlement of more than $1.1 billion in a suit centering on the unintended-acceleration claims.
Abbott said that under the settlement announced today, "Toyota, among other things, is required to enhance its safety compliance procedures. The $29 million national agreement also establishes a customer restitution fund, along with $1.14 million in civil penalties and $217,000 in attorneys' fees for the State of Texas."
The carmaker will also establish a $5 million restitution fund "which will be available to customers who had out-of-pocket expenses -- such as rental cars or taxi fees -- as a result of recalls in late 2009 and early 2010."
The Houston Press first reported on troubles with unintended acceleration in 2009 in a feature called "Wild Rides." (Disclosure: That feature included my wife, a Prius owner. I don't think we'll be getting rich over any settlement, however.)
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.