• Mar 12th 2009 at 10:30AM
  • 70
Levi Stewart lost his life after the steering relay rod on his 1991 Toyota pickup snapped, causing the truck to roll. Officials labeled the accident alcohol-related due to the fact the teenager had a blood-alcohol level of .03 (legal limit for adults in his state over the age of 21 is .08), but that was before anyone involved with the investigation knew of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall. The relay rod, which connects the steering wheel to the front tires, had been under recall since 2005, but neither the truck owner or the previous owner had been notified of the defect.
Lawyers for the Stewart family are accusing Toyota of both delaying and improperly distributing the recall notice, which affected 1 million trucks and SUVs. The lawyers contend they have evidence that Toyota has known about the problem since as early as 1996, yet the recall didn't begin until 2005. Toyota actually started the recall in Japan a year earlier, and Toyota waited a full year before starting the recall action in the U.S. The reason Toyota has stated for the delay was that driving conditions were different in Japan, and that there were no incidents reported in the U.S. Japanese media told NBC that it knew of 80 incidents in Japan. Hit the jump to view NBC's investigational video. Hat tip to Michael

[Source: NBC Los Angeles]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Noooooooooo..... Not Toyota!

      I guess the souls in hell are lacing up their ice skates... LOL!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Japenese decided a long time ago "to not get mad but get even" When are the citizens of the US going to wake up and take back this country?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Say what? Are you that dirt bag known as Don9992 on MoronTrend?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not just steering relay rods folks .... start asking around about their CATALYTIC CONVERTERS. As best I can tell, they've had problems with their catalytic converters for at least 8 YEARS!!

      • 6 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous,

      Should Toyota be sued for negligence? Of course they should. They knew about it way before they issued the recall.

      However they should NOT be sued for wrongful death of these dumb kids. They were intoxicated and not wearing a seat belt. People say still if the defect wasn't there they would have made it home. Really? These kids were intoxicated they could have easily hit an on coming vehicle hurting someone who was really innocent. Not to mention the fact that something was there to protect their lives, seat belts.

      Its really simple logic here guys..... Seat belt on = I value my life, Seat belt off = I don't give a crap. So why should someone collect? Especially if that someone is the one that should have taught their kids to click it. The dad is just looking to blame someone else for his son's death, and the lawyers... well you know them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      you get what you pay for,if you pay for junk,you get junk.
      it's jap crap pure and simple
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe people will stop buying Jap cars and motorcycles, and stop financing the Jap economy. It seems that everywhere I go, if a car is broken down on the side of the road, most of the time it's a Jap car. Most of the used cars in the paper are Jap cars. If they're so great, why are people trying to sell them????? Buy American, kick the Jap cars out of the USA. Just my opinion.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a friend who works at a Lexus store. Toyota has many "recalls" that people never know about. They send out an "invitation" for the customer to come in and get a free oil change and inspection. Looking like they care about you so much.........they repair the recalled item without you ever knowing. Thanks Toyota for the free coffee and doughnut while you pull the wool over everyone's eyes. Toyota recalled more cars last year than they built!!! Look it up!!! But you do not here that in the media.
        • 6 Years Ago
        CONSPIRACY! Woooo!
        • 6 Years Ago
        nice try....liar
      • 6 Years Ago
      This story will fall on deaf ears. The masses will still hail Toyota and crap on domestics. You will still hear on AB that "import car companies address problems faster than domestics". It's all about perception and emblem snobbery. People will also claim by feeling up interiors and say "the plastic quality is better in the imports". Yet if you put out cross sections of plastic out of these cars and asked people to pick blindly, they wouldn't tell the difference even if one was part of a rubbermaid product. Here is a good article on this very perception in the media when in 2007 Toyota recalled more cars than it produced aside from settling that lawsuit over 3.5 million blown motors.


      I'm not crapping on Toyota, but overrated is an understatement.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I drive a 93 Toyota truck which falls into the category according to the video
      (it said from the years 1989 to 1995) . It was a 91 they were talking about.

      How would I find out if my truck has the "defective steering relay rod"??

      Would maybe the DMV know by looking up the VIN #?

      Who exactly would I contact about this?

      Anybody know?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Call 1-800-GoToyota, give them your Vin# and they will let you know if there are any related recalls.
      Uncla Al
      • 6 Years Ago
      Realize that sometimes a recall is for a loose mirror, sometimes for a fuel leak that can explode. Big difference. Also, total recalls doesn't necessarily relate to total defects. Some may chance it more and hope they get away with it. Pinto gas tanks, GM side tanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What we have here is another blown out of proportion like the Firestone tire/Ford Explorer roll over lies. Do any of you recall those media exaggerations. They never told us that the tires were never cared for, were worn out, speeding and last but not the least a woman driver in a least one of the incidents. If I'm not mistaken I recall another incident involved an illegal from south of the border.

      The vehicle in question is an 18 year old pickup. Can the author tells us of the condition of the truck ? The most pertinent question is mileage. 100,200,300,400 thousand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Poor Toyota, I feel so bad for them :)))). Hell, they'll be alright, stupid Americans will continue their junk.
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