Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Ames, got the U.S. Transportation Secretary to offer some advice to worried Toyota owners today, but the secretary backed away from some of that advice soon afterwards.
Toyota has recalled thousands of vehicles and promised customers they have the fix for sticking accelerators. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified this morning before a congressional committee and Latham, who’s a member of that panel, asked LaHood why his agency wasn’t offering some advice to drivers who might find themselves in a Toyota that can’t be stopped.
After a 30-second discussion, LaHood suggested the bottom line was that the problem needs to be fixed.
“My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it and take it to the Toyota dealer because they believe they have the fix for it,” LaHood said.
Shortly after that, though, LaHood told reporters he hadn’t meant to suggest Toyota owners should stop driving their vehicles, only that they should contact their dealer and make an appointment to get the accelerator fixed.
During the congressional hearing, Latham also asked about reported electrical problems with the Prius, Toyota’s hybrid car.
“Is there a computer problem or do we know what exactly is going on?” Latham asked.
LaHood said federal officials would investigate the electronic components in the Prius. More than 100 complaints have been filed in the U.S. about brake problems with the Prius.
Eight other Toyota models are the subject of a recall related to accelerators. They include certain Camrys, Corollas, and Highlanders as well as certain models of the RAV4, Matrix, Avalon, Tundra and Sequoia.