U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood retracted a statement where he urged owners of Toyota vehicles involved in a massive safety recall to stop driving the cars.

Earlier Wednesday, LaHood told reporters his advice to Toyota owners was Stop driving it, take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it, the New York Times reported.

What I said in there was obviously a misstatement, LaHood told reporters later today after he testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, the Associated Press reported. 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.

Mr. LaHood's first statement had led a great number of Toyota owners to call dealerships across the United States, the NYT noted.

Toyota said in a statement that the company appreciated LaHood's clarification of his remarks.