Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota, shows the faulty accelerator pedal on a recalled vehicle in North Palm Beach, Fla. in this 2010 photo (Photo: Alan Diaz AP)

[USA Today]

Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota, shows the faulty accelerator pedal on a recalled vehicle in North Palm Beach, Fla. in this 2010 photo (Photo: Alan Diaz AP)

If General Motors needs any more indication of how its own safety issues could play out, it need look no farther than Toyota.

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to end a criminal probe into its handling of reports of unintended acceleration.

That’s on top of millions of dollars in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and class-action settlements.

General Motors is now under fire for deadly ignition switches in 1.6 million vehicles built in the middle of the last decade that are part of the worldwide recall announced last month. It’s just starting the process.

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