Toyota reaches $1.2 billion settlement over acceleration recall

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced a $1.2 billion settlement Wednesday with Toyota under which the company admitted to misleading customers and U.S. regulators about safety issues related to unintended acceleration problems.

The settlement, which includes a deferred prosecution agreement, ends a four-year probe by the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney.

At first, Toyota blamed it on the floor mat. But if it was removed there was still a possibility the gas pedal would get stuck.

The recall included millions of cars and trucks, including the 2009 to 2010 Tundra.

The Japanese automaker recalled millions of cars from 2009 to 2010 following complaints of sudden, unintended acceleration.

For years, Toyota did little beyond changing floor mats. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated 89 deaths linked to unintended acceleration.

In August 2009, a family of three died in a car crash in San Diego caused by a faulty gas pedal on their Lexus. If your accelerator gets stuck, experts say don’t panic and don’t turn the car off.

No reports of any recent accelerator problems. Following the recall, Toyota did make modifications to gas pedals and floor mats, which is standard on its new models.