After a rash of unintended acceleration accidents in Toyotas, a federal agency today proposed a rule to require automakers to install a brake override switch in all new vehicles when both the brake and gas pedal are pressed at the same time.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the "Brake-Throttle Override" requirement will "help reduce the risks of high-speed unintended acceleration and prevent crashes involving a stuck or trapped accelerator pedal by allowing the driver to maintain control through normal application of the vehicle's brakes."
The Toyota accelerator accidents in some 2009-2010 models were traced to carpet protectors that jammed the gas pedal. When the drivers tried to brake, the gas pedal took precedence and they were unable to stop the cars.
Toyota issued a recall to address the problem. "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," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said 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."
A 60-day comment period has opened before the proposal is published in the Federal Register. View the proposal here.