Prevention of Charlotte Accidents Resulting from Pedal Error

Over the past 40 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have received reports of vehicle defects causing sudden acceleration. NHTSA and NTSB have also received accident reports in which sudden acceleration was the stated cause of the crash. For the past five years, intensive investigations of accidents caused by acceleration have been investigated by the agencies using “black box” data from vehicle data recorders. Pedal application data from prior to the crash shows most instances of sudden acceleration was caused by the driver hitting the gas instead of the brake. 

Sudden acceleration is defined as unexpected and unintentional high-powered acceleration in which the vehicle brakes do not appear to work. Based on investigation into this phenomenon, NHTSA and NTSB have determined there have been no cases of vehicle defects over the past four decades in which both the throttle and accelerator malfunctioned simultaneously and caused the sudden acceleration to occur. In most instances, pedal error was likely to blame for the car speeding up suddenly.

While drivers use their brakes without incident millions of times annually, sometimes mistakes are made and drivers use the wrong pedal. When this occurs, a high-speed car accident is likely. Although the driver who unintentionally accelerated likely acted by mistake, the motorist may generally still be held accountable for losses by victims caused by resulting crashes. A car accident lawyer can help victims of collisions caused by unintentional acceleration.

Tips to Prevent Pedal Error

Pedal error is the cause of as many as 16,000 annual motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Usually, pedal error occurs in situations where drivers are going slowly, or when braking is normally required. Pedal error is very common in parking lots and other environments where drivers are trying to park their vehicle. Intersections and stop signs are also prime spots where pedal error is likely to occur.

Because pedal error involves rapid acceleration with no braking force to slow the vehicle down, accidents caused by pedal error often cause serious injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage. Motorists must take precautions to avoid pedal error so they can avoid hurting others or becoming liable for accident losses. NHTSA has tips for drivers to reduce the risk of causing an accident due to pedal error.

Drivers are urged to:

  • Wear light weight, flat-soled shoes whenever they are operating a vehicle. High heels, flip flops, and heavy work boats make it more difficult to feel the difference between the brake versus accelerator and increase the chance a pedal error will occur.
  • Get in the habit of hitting the middle or center of the brake pedal every time
  • Adjust any adjustable pedals when getting into a new vehicle or the first time and take the time to get to know the vehicle and the feel of the pedals before driving it.
  • Avoid being distracted and always exercise caution. When parking, go slowly and carefully.

By following these tips, hopefully the number of pedal error crashes can be reduced significantly.