Toyota has been fined US$17.4m – the maximum allowed under US law – for taking too long to report safety issues to the US authorities. The action represents the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid to NHTSA for violations stemming from a recall.

The latest fine is for a recall in June of about 150,000 vehicles (Model Year 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450 models) to address floor mat pedal entrapment, a problem that had been identified months earlier according to a statement issued by NHTSA. 

“Safety is our highest priority,” said U.S. TRANSPORTATION Secretary Ray LaHood. “With today’s announcement, I expect Toyota to rigorously reinforce its commitment to adhering to United States safety regulations.”

US law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect exists or that the vehicle is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards and to promptly conduct a recall.