Feds Demand System to Ensure Brakes Work

Brake override proposal a response to Toyota, Lexus crashes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2012 2:29 PM CDT
This National Highway Traffic Safety Administration handout shows an example of an unsecured driver-side floor mat trapping the accelerator pedal in a 2007 Lexus ES350.   (AP Photo/NHTSA)

(Newser) – Are you terrified of your car suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating, Toyota-style? Well, federal regulators are at last moving to put your mind at ease. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put forward a proposal to require all new vehicles to include a brake override system, the LA Times reports. These electronic safeguards make sure that pressing your brake will always stop the car—even if your accelerator is, say, caught under a floor mat.

The Department of Transportation has been contemplating such a move for years. "America’s drivers should feel confident that any time they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles," says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. But some auto experts say the systems are unlikely to help. Unintended acceleration "is usually a driver error issue," says an Edmunds.com vp. "In other words, the gas is being applied, not the brakes."

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