WASHINGTON D.C. (CN) - Toyota will pay $32.4 million after two safety investigations of its vehicles. The penalties - $16.375 million and $16.05 million - are for failing to inform investigators promptly of defects in vehicles and allowing millions of potentially dangerous vehicles to remain on the roads.
The fines - for sticking accelerator pedals and another flaw that can cause loss of steering control - brings Toyota's total penalties this year to $48.8 million. In April, Toyota paid a $16.4 million fine for delaying a recall of accelerator pedals that could become stuck.
There have been three congressional inquiries; Toyota temporarily stopped sales of eight models, issued millions of recall notices and made a public apology. The fines, the maximum amount allowed, are the result of the subsequent investigations by the Department of Transportation.
"Safety is our top priority and we take our responsibility to protect consumers seriously," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "I am pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty and I expect Toyota to work cooperatively in the future to ensure consumers' safety."
Toyota's Board of Directors in Japan voted to pay the fines voluntarily. Toyota did not admit to any violations of safety laws.
Before Toyota, the largest penalty against a car company was $1 million, levied against General Motors in 2004 for delaying a windshield wiper recall.
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