In light of Toyota’s recalls stemming from unintended acceleration problems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a regulation making brake-override systems mandatory in all new vehicles.
Overall, Toyota’s recall affected approximately 10 million vehicles. One of the most well known incidents occurred in 2009 when four people were killed after a driver could not stop his Lexus because the accelerator was trapped by the floor mat. If that vehicle had a brake-override system, the accident would likely have not occurred.
The NHTSA’s proposed regulation would require that brake-override systems be installed in cars manufactured after September 2014. The NHTSA says the costs to manufacturers will be slight because many companies already include the technology in their new cars. Toyota, for example, made the system standard in all of its vehicles manufactured after 2011.
Under the proposal, all passenger vehicles must have the brake-override system. The system stops the vehicle if both the accelerator and brake pedals are used at the same time. The NHTSA is also considering whether it should require some sort of warning to the driver of the vehicle that the brake-override system has been turned on.
A Long Time Coming
A similar proposal was put out by the NHTSA in 2002, but it decided to desert the proposal in 2004 because of
concerns with how the brake-override systems would be tested. The current rule is now up for public comment and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents many big auto manufacturers, is reviewing the proposal and plans to comment on it during this time.
Source: The Detroit News, “NHTSA proposes making brake-override standard,” David Shepardson.