The US Department of Transportation’s vehicle safety authority is calling for new regulations that would reduce the risk of unintended acceleration-related crashes and improve driver control and confidence.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed an update to existing standards that would ensure drivers are better able to stop their car if the accelerator and brake pedals are both depressed.
NHTSA secretary Ray LaHood said research supports the implementation of a standardised brake-throttle override system to enhance vehicle safety.
“America’s drivers should feel confident that anytime they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles – especially in the event of an emergency,” LaHood said.
“By updating our safety standards, we’re helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake.”
The proposal would require manufacturers to include a brake-throttle override system to ensure their vehicles will stop if both the brake and accelerator pedals are simultaneously applied. Many manufacturers already equip their vehicles with similar pedal override systems.
If mandated, the regulation would see brake-throttle override systems become standard in cars and SUVs sold in the US, and would lead to more vehicles sold in Australia being fitted with the technology as a flow-on effect.
The issue of unintended acceleration hit headlines late in 2009 when Toyota was forced to recall millions of vehicles around the world for issues relating to the placement of the driver’s-side floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals.