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Toyota to Pay Record $17.35M Fine for Faulty Floor Mats

TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Toyota Motor Corporation has been slapped with another hefty fine over one of its recalls.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Tuesday that the Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $17.35 million -- the maximum fine allowable under the law -- for failing to report a safety issue with its floor mats within five days, as required by law.

“It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers report safety defects in a timely manner,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in a statement Tuesday.  “Every moment of delay has the potential to lead to deaths or injuries on our nation’s highways.”

The NHTSA said it began noticing a trend in floor mat pedal entrapment in 2010 Lexus RX 350s in early 2012.  It then contacted Toyota, who later acknowledged the problem and issued a recall of the vehicles.

Tuesday's fine is "the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid to NHTSA for violations stemming from a recall," according to the agency.

Two years earlier, Toyota agreed to pay $48.8 million as a result of three separate investigations stemming from sticky pedal, pedal entrapment and steering relay rod recalls.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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