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Ray LaHood Refines "Stop Driving It" Statement on Toyota Issues

After Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned millions of Toyota drivers to "stop driving it" regarding recalled Toyotas, he subsequently backed off a little bit. NPR reports that Ray LaHood concedes that he spoke in haste. He still says that Toyota drivers should take their cars to a Toyota dealership and repair the gas pedal defect.

According to NPR, LaHood's final say about Toyota issues with safety is this: "What I meant to say or what I thought I said was, if you own one of these cars or if you're in doubt, take it to the dealer and they're going to fix it."

In the meantime, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is looking into Toyota's throttle control systems for an electromagnetic interference. Toyota claims that the problems with its vehicles are related to floor mats and gas pedals.

Ray LaHood slammed down hard against Toyota earlier. In remarks during a house appropriations hearing, LaHood said that if he had one of the recalled Toyotas, he would “stop driving it, take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

LaHood has been a very outspoken figure in this whole Toyota safety problem. We covered how he criticized Toyota's response to safety concerns about its vehicles. He said that Toyota needed federal intervention in order to halt sales of their defective cars. He told Chicago radio station WGN: "The reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to."

Mr. LaHood may have backed off his statement to "stop driving it," but he did mention that the government is considering civil penalties for Toyota's slow response to safety issues this past Tuesday.

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