In the wake of a spate of sudden-acceleration car accidents, federal regulators have proposed a new rule designed to mitigate the problem. The rule would require all new cars and trucks to come with a standard “brake-throttle override” system.
The system would ensure that a car’s brakes engage whenever a driver steps on the brake pedal, even if the throttle gets stuck or malfunctions. Regulators hope the system can prevent some car accidents from occurring.
The issue first came to the national forefront in 2009, when a number of Toyota vehicle owners reported being unable to stop their runaway vehicles. However, the problem has not been limited to Toyota models. In one accident, a stuck accelerator caused a Lexus to reach speeds of 120 mph before flying off a highway embankment and crashing, killing all four people inside.
The rule should not pose a significant burden, as many cars are already equipped with this type of braking system. Toyota, for example, made it standard to have a brake-override system in all of their cars after its sudden-acceleration recall in 2010. General Motors is expected to install the feature in all of its new vehicles by the end of the year.
The proposed regulation is not scheduled to take effect until September of 2014. In the meantime, regulators will work with manufacturers and auto safety groups to make sure the rule is drafted effectively.
Stuck accelerators are just one of the many auto defects that can lead to dangerous and sometimes fatal accidents. However, not all defects can be easily recognized by untrained eyes. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is worth it to consult with an expert to see if an auto defect might have played a role.