Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced today that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.375 million against the world’s largest car maker “for failing to notify the auto safety agency of the dangerous “sticky pedal” defect for at least four months, despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers.”
The penalty is the largest one ever assessed by NHTSA against a single manufacturer.
Through its investigation, NHTSA learned that Toyota knew of the “sticky pedal defect” as early as September 29, 2009. But didn’t issue a recall for the millions of related vehicles until January. By law, manufacturers are to report known defects to NHTSA within five days of learning about them.
We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations. Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families. For those reasons, we are seeking the maximum penalty possible under current laws.