NHTSA calls for brake-override systems to be required

In a bid to increase vehicle safety for motorists, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration* recently proposed reforming current safety regulations so that drivers will be able to take the necessary steps should their vehicles malfunction.

The NHTSA, which is run by the Department of Transportation, recommended revising safety standards in the wake of Toyota’s recall of millions of vehicles after reports that drivers had been involved in accidents after their vehicles’ brake and accelerator pedals stopped working. Since then, the NHTSA has conducted its own internal investigations and found that if auto manufacturers implement a “Brake-Throttle Override,” it would help reduce the risk of crashes resulting from accelerator pedals sticking or brakes being inoperable.

Transportation secretary says overrides would provide peace of mind

Ray LaHood, secretary of the Transportation Department, said every driver should be rest assured that they have to total control of their vehicle in all situations.

“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 LaHood. “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.”

Should the new auto safety regulation be implemented, automakers would be required to install the Brake-Throttle Override and it would revise the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard regarding accelerator control systems.

David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, said the safety agency’s tests proved to be revealing and potentially life-saving.

“We learned as part of the comprehensive NASA and NHTSA studies of high-speed unintended acceleration that brake override systems could help drivers avoid crashes,” said Strickland. “While NHTSA’s defect investigation program will continue to monitor and consider consumer complaints of any potential vehicle safety issues, this proposal is one way the agency is helping keep drivers safe and continuing to work to reduce the risk of injury from sticky pedals or pedal entrapment issues.”

NHTSA notes that while BTO systems are not yet required, some automakers are already making them standard in product lines. For instance, Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW and Chrysler have been using brake-override systems for the past several years, according to the Los Angeles Times**.

* according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on April 12, 2012
**according to the Los Angeles Times on April 13, 2012

via Peter Montanez

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