WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Transportation Thursday said it was time to equip vehicles with brake-throttle override systems to prevent runaway acceleration.
The department proposed systems be installed “to ensure drivers can better stop a vehicle in the event both the brake and accelerator pedals are depressed at the same time.”
The issue itself accelerated in 2009 and 2010 when 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recalled with widespread allegations that cars’ throttles had raced unintentionally with little the driver could do to regain control.
“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 U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement.
“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,” he said.
The proposal specifically centers on a system that improves throttle control disconnection systems and reduces or eliminates incidents like the “accelerator pedal sticking or floor mat entrapment,” the department said.
“We learned as part of the comprehensive NASA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies of high-speed unintended acceleration that brake override systems could help drivers avoid crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
The department said the public would be given 60 days to offer feedback on the proposal.