Ford Motor Company has agreed to pay a $17.4M fine to the U.S. Government for waiting too long before reporting a defect.
“It is critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement.
The recall in question affects 423,000 model year 2001-2004 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes, and is over a sticky gas pedal which can remain depressed even when the driver’s foot is lifted off of it.
“As government regulators, it is our job to ensure that manufacturers are held accountable to address safety issues promptly and responsively,” NHTSA said.
Government regulation states that automakers must inform NHTSA within five days of a defect becoming apparent to them. Based on suspicion, NHTSA planned to conduct a “timeliness” investigation of the Ford recall, but the automaker agreed to pay the maximum allowable before the investigation could begin.
The payment of $17.35 million is the maximum allowable fine, and was also paid by Toyota recently for a similar violation.