WASHINGTON (AP) – The Transportation Department said Monday that it would seek the maximum penalty, more than $16 million, against Toyota for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles.

The fine would be the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

The Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said that the evidence showed that Toyota knew of the problem with sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January.

Toyota has two weeks to accept or contest the $16.375 million penalty.

The automaker has recalled more than six million vehicles in the United States, and more than eight million worldwide, because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius hybrid.

Source: The New York Times

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