Toyota Motor to pay USD 32.425 million in civil penalties

Toyota will pay the maximum fines allowable under the law -- USD 16.375 million in one case and USD 16.050 million in the other -- in response to the Transportation Department's assertion that it failed to comply with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act for reporting safety defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an official release said.

"Safety is our top priority and we take our responsibility to protect consumers seriously," LaHood said.The first investigation completed today resulted in a USD 16.375 million fine over Toyota's recall of nearly five million vehicles with accelerator pedals that could become entrapped by floor mats.

As an initial remedy, Toyota had recalled 55,000 all-weather floor mats on September 26, 2007.Subsequently, in October, 2009, Toyota recalled 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles over a similar problem.

This was expanded on January 27, 2010, to include another 1.1 million vehicles.
The second investigation completed today resulted in a USD 16.050 million fine being imposed on the Japanese auto giant.

In that case, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked into whether Toyota properly notified the agency of a safety defect in several Toyota models that could result in a loss of steering control.

"Automakers are required to report any safety defects to NHTSA swiftly, and we expect them to do so," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Toyota will pay the maximum in civil penalties for each of the two violations.The maximum civil penalty established under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is adjusted for inflation, and was set at USD 16.050 million at the time of the steering relay rod recall in 2005.

In April, Toyota agreed to pay the maximum penalty of USD 16.375 million in response to the department's assertion that it failed to notify the NHTSA within five days of learning of the "sticky pedal" defect.

That brings the total civil penalties assessed for Toyota in 2010 to USD 48.8 million, the Department of Transportation said.

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