WASHINGTON (April 6, 2010)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will seek the maximum civil penalty—$16.375 million under current statutes—against Toyota Motor Corp. for failing to tell NHTSA about its “sticky pedal” safety defect until four months after it learned of the problem.
NHTSA launched its investigation Feb. 16 into the timeliness and scope of the three Toyota recalls in late January related to sticky accelerator pedals. The agency continues to review the more than 70,000 pages of documents Toyota submitted, NHTSA said.
However, based on its scrutiny of those documents, NHTSA has determined that Toyota violated its legal obligation to notify the agency within five business days of learning of a defect.
Toyota officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
NHTSA determined that Toyota learned of the pedal defect at least by Sept. 29, 2009, the day it issued repair procedures for the pedals to distributors in 31 European countries and Canada. The documents also showed that Toyota knew of identical problems in the U.S., the agency said.