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Public Split On Whether Toyotas Are Safe To Drive

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

The Toyota recall continues to leave many drivers scratching their heads. Wednesday mixed signals from the nation's top transportation official only complicated matters. Testifying before congress Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said his advice to drivers of affected Toyotas was to stop driving them, but within minutes, LaHood took back the remark-- saying he misspoke.

With so many news stories about Toyota in recent days, it's hard for drivers like Jim Mortimer to not think about what could go wrong when he's behind the wheel of his 2007 Avalon. "It's always on your mind," Mortimer said, "You know it's happened before."

Nonetheless, Mortimer says the recall hasn't shaken his faith in Toyota, and he's not going to spend time worrying. He says even if something goes wrong, he knows what to do. "Simply hit the gear shift, knock it in neutral, and pull over to the side with your brakes, and you're okay."

Lynda Puckett agrees. She says she's put 170,000 miles on one Toyota, 300,000 miles on another one at home, and despite the recall, she looks forward to buying a new Toyota. "I just think it's overwhelming some people, but I don't think it's really anything to be concerned about," Puckett said.

However across the state, concerns are growing. In Northern Kentucky, Debbie Poynter is suing Toyota. She says the driver of an out of control Camry crashed into her at an ATM. "It accelerated, went over the concrete barriers, and pinned me between her car and the ATM machine, and the impact was so hard, it cracked the brick of the bank, and my legs exploded," Poynter said.

She's not alone. Attorney Stan Chesley filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker. "They want to be the largest car manufacturer by sales in the United States, then they got to stand up to their duty as literally an insurer that the car is safe," Chesley said.

Despite all the negative attention, some loyal customers say they'll keep driving their Toyotas between now and whenever they can have repairs made. In fact, Jim Mortimer is so confident, he's not in any hurry to make that appointment. "I haven't called yet, but I suppose I will soon," Mortimer said.


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