The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to improve existing safety standards for light vehicles to help drivers stop better. Introduced on Thursday, April 12, the new plan would implement an Brake-Throttle Override which would be enabled with both the accelerator pedal and brake pedal are depressed simultaneously. If passed, the requirement would help eliminate accidents due to a stuck or trapped accelerator pedal and would allow a driver to maintain vehicle control using the braking system.
“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,” said Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary. “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 NHTSA’s new plan targets drivers that lose control of their vehicle due to accelerator control system disconnections or the pedal physically getting stuck. Currently, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 124 regulates the Accelerator Control System, and the new proposal would amend that to include acceleration disconnecting for all passenger cars, trucks, and transportation vehicles.
For those vehicles that feature an Electronic Throttle Control, and weigh less than 10,000 lbs, the NHTSA would require automakers to include an additional BTO system that would stop the vehicle if both pedals are pressed at the same time. This is a minor requirement however, as most manufacturers already include a BTO system in their fleet.