In 2009 and 2010, Toyota Motor Corp. issued a record number of recalls nationwide and in Ohio as a direct response to concerns over accidents caused by sudden unintended acceleration. The car accidents could be traced to a carpet protector defect that caused the accelerator to become stuck in the “down” position, thus rendering the braking system nonresponsive.
The issue was also reported in some Lexus vehicles.
In April 2012, federal officials introduced proposed rules designed to prevent this problem from occurring in future vehicles.
Mandatory Override System
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would like to make the installation of “brake-throttle override” systems mandatory in all new vehicles. The system makes the braking system engage whenever the accelerator and the brake pedal are depressed at the same time.
Regulators predict that the cost of implementing the rule would be relatively minimal. After the Toyota issue started making news, most automakers voluntarily chose to install brake-throttle override systems in their new vehicles.
The rule, then, is not designed to solve a wide-ranging safety problem so much as it is to give consumers the peace of mind of knowing that their brake system will engage if they ever find themselves in an emergency situation. A uniform national standard will also prevent automakers from cutting costs by failing to include non-mandatory safety equipment.
The proposed rules will be held open for public comment for 60 days and will then be published in the Federal Register.
Hopefully, these rules will help reduce the rate of motor vehicle accidents caused by auto defects. Human error and negligence cause enough accidents already; drivers should not have to worry about mechanical malfunctions that they cannot control.
If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by an auto defect or a negligent driver, you may have legal recourse to recover for your injuries. Talk to an Ohio personal injury attorney who can help you understand your options.