The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced it will seek the maximum allowable fine of $16.375 million from Toyota Motor Corporation for the automaker's undue delay in notifying the government about problems it had discovered regarding sticking accelerator pedals in some of its vehicles.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the automaker failed to alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the issue for nearly four months after it had first become aware of the problem back on in September 29, 2009. On that day, Toyota notified 31 of its distributors in Canada and Europe about the sticky accelerator pedal situation and issued repair procedures. According to LaHood, NHTSA was not told of the matter until January 23, 2010. Under federal law, manufacturers are obligated to advise NHTSA about the existence of any safety-related defect within five business days of its discovery.
At this point, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) admitted that it had received notice from NHTSA on April 5 (in the United States) regarding the $16.375 million civil penalty being sought and that it is now considering its response.