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 |  May 11 2010, 1:26 PM

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Toyota recalled a number of trucks in Japan for a defective steering column but chose to wait nearly a year before recalling them in North America, despite a series of complains in the United States regarding the issue. The revelation comes on the heels of a $16.4 million fine imposed by the U.S. government as punishment for Toyota delaying the recalls of millions of vehicles over accelerator pedals that stick open unintentionally.

The latest recall involves a defective steering column, and failure could lead to the driver being unable to steer the vehicle and turn its wheels. Toyota initially claimed that the recall was issued in Japan because driving conditions put more strain on the affected parts and denied that there was an issue in North America. However the Associated Press investigated the matter and found numerous complains to Toyota’s customer service, legal and warranty department. The National Highway Traffics Safety Association has linked the defect to 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries.

[Source: Automotive News]