By AP Legal Affairs Writer
updated 5/10/2010 2:19:33 PM ET 2010-05-10T18:19:33

An Associated Press investigation has found that Toyota waited nearly a year to issue a U.S. recall in 2005 over defective steering rods in trucks and SUVs, despite a similar recall in Japan and dozens of reports from American motorists about rods that snapped without warning.

The gap between the Japanese and U.S. recalls has triggered a new review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which could fine the automaker up to $16.4 million.

NHTSA has linked 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries to the steering defect.

Toyota claimed initially after the 2004 Japanese recall that it had little evidence of a U.S. problem. But the AP has found that the automaker had received at least 52 reports from U.S. drivers.


Curt Anderson reported from Miami.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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