LaHood’s comments clarified: Drive your Toyotas if you must, but get them fixed

During a testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told owners of Toyota vehicles to stop driving them and get them fixed if they are recalled.

“My advice is to stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

Well, that didn’t seem to sit too well with Toyota and U.S. Transportation Department officials today attempted to clear LaHood’s statement. The department said that Toyota owners should bring recalled vehicles to dealerships immediately but should continue driving them if necessary.

LaHood wasn’t saying people should stop driving them altogether, said a Transportation official who asked not to be identified.

You can check out Toyota’s statement about LaHood’s comments after the jump.

Toyota Statement on Comments by Transportation Secretary LaHood on Feb. 3, 2010

We appreciate Secretary LaHood”s clarification of his remarks today about Toyota”s recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes.

Our message to Toyota owners is this ““ if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive.

Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)