The National Highway Safety Administration has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend FMVSS 124 to reduce the risks of unintended acceleration in vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
NHTSA is addressing brake throttle override, when a stuck or trapped accelerator pedals may hinder the driver’s ability to maintain control through the normal application of the vehicle’s brakes. This can occur when either the accelerator control system disconnects or, as in the case of a Toyota recall and resulting fines from NHTSA in 2009, the floor mat becomes entrapped in the pedals.
“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 NHTSA Administrator David 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.”
The rule would affect only new vehicles with GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. A limited number of small school buses or vans may apply if the standard is finalized. For similar size vehicles with electronic throttle controls (ETCs), NHTSA also proposes to require manufacturers include a Brake-Throttle Override (BTO) system to ensure the vehicle stops if both the brake and the accelerator pedals are simultaneously applied. NHTSA said many manufacturers are already including BTO systems in their vehicle fleets.
Public comments may be submitted for 60 days once the NPRM (Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0038) is published on the Federal Register.