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DOT’s LaHood Slams Toyota, Then Backs Down

LaHood initially warns motorists not to drive recalled Toyotas.

by on Feb.03, 2010

Transportation Secretary LaHood gets tough with Toyota then backs off?

Caught up in the swirl surrounding the ongoing Toyota safety recalls, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood apparently took things a step too far, at a Wednesday morning hearing on Capitol Hill, initially suggesting that owners of more than 4 million vehicles vehicles equipped with potentially sticky accelerators “stop driving.”

This afternoon, the Secretary said his comments were a “obviously a misstatement,” though he continued to stress that owners of the vehicles involved in Toyota recalls bring them to a dealer for repairs.

Automotive Insight!

LaHood has been unusually outspoken, in recent days, about Toyota’s problems, revealing that it took extensive pressure on senior company officials, in Japan, before Toyota would approve the latest recall.  That prompted him, on Tuesday, to call the company, long seen as an industry leader in terms of quality and reliability, “safety deaf.”