Brake Override Systems Put an End to Stuck Accelerators

Author: Michael Gluck

Many auto manufacturers are now incorporating brake override systems into their vehicles.  A brake override system is a software program in the onboard vehicle computer that breaks the connection to the throttle when the driver steps on the brake pedal. The override also assigns priority to braking if the driver pushes both pedals at once or if the accelerator is already engaged.

A number of incidents signaled a need for this modification. A fatal San Diego accident occurred in 2009 when a highway patrol officer and his family were driving a Lexus sedan that they borrowed from a dealership. The accelerator became caught under the floor mat and the car reached 120 miles per hour with no ability to brake because the accelerator was stuck. A fatal accident and other incidents led Toyota to recall millions of vehicles that potentially had sticky accelerators. After recalling the vehicles, Toyota incorporated brake override systems into its full lineup of vehicles and even retrofitted some earlier models. Likewise, General Motors plans to have brake override systems in all of its vehicles worldwide by the end of 2012.

According to a NY Times article the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing a rule that all vehicles must have brake override systems by 2014. This would not apply to vehicles with manual transmissions because the clutch in these vehicles can be used to disengage a stuck accelerator.

Experienced Long Island car accident lawyers routinely investigate car crashes on behalf of their clients. If a manufacturing defect resulted in injury or death, they can often hold the manufacturer accountable. Discuss your car crash with a skilled NY accident attorney.