Feds to Require Brake Override Systems to Prevent Acceleration-Accidents

The federal administration is planning to ask automakers to design and install brake override systems in order to reduce the risk of accidents caused by high-speed, unintended acceleration.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposal is meant to address concerns over unintended acceleration involving several Toyota vehicles. The agency’s concerns increased after an accident in 2009 that involved a Toyota Lexus ES 350 which speeded up to uncontrollable speeds and crashed, killing all 4 occupants. By the time the car crashed, it was travelling speeds of more than 100 mph. The accident which occurred in San Diego killed an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law.

That incident opened the floodgates for hundreds of complaints about unintended acceleration involving Toyota vehicles. It also resulted in hundreds of Toyota owners consulting with California personal injury lawyers about their rights.

Investigators believe that the accident happened as a result of improper installation of a floor mat on the Toyota Lexus. They believe that the floor mat trapped the accelerator pedal, increasing speeds to high levels. Since then, millions of Toyota vehicles having been recalled in order to fix the floor mat problem and reduce the risks of unintended acceleration.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that brake override systems can help prevent such accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during its investigations into these crashes, it found that brake override systems could do a lot to prevent these accidents.

The brake override system would allow the driver to apply the brake in order to release the jammed throttle. The system will release the throttle automatically, when the sensors in the car detect that the brake pedal has been activated. The system will be designed for cars with electronic throttle control, which depend on computerized sensors to link the gas pedal to the engine.