Toyota is still paying for its decision to wait 4 months before announcing a recall and notifying federal regulators of the "sticky pedal" defect—and the automaker will pay even more: a $16.4 million fine imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this afternoon. Toyota has 2 weeks to say whether it will appeal the penalty, the largest the NHTSA is allowed to levy under federal law and the largest the agency has ever imposed.
The tough stance is an indication of a newly tough approach by the NHTSA, reports the Detroit News. "We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations," 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."