Sudden acceleration can cause dangerous collisions. Sudden acceleration is described by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “unintended, unexpected, high-powered acceleration, accompanied by an apparent loss of braking effectiveness that typically occurs from a very low initial speed when the driver is attempting to stop the vehicle.”
Over the past 40 years, NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have received numerous reports of sudden acceleration and have launched myriad investigations. No vehicle defect has been identified during this time to explain the sudden failures of both the braking system and throttle. Instead, pedal application data from vehicle event data recorders over the past five years suggests accidents in which sudden acceleration has occurred likely happened because a driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes. These investigations have led NHTSA and NTSB to conclude reports of sudden acceleration were all likely caused not by a vehicle problem but by pedal error.
A driver who accidentally hits the gas instead of the brake can cause a dangerous high-speed collision. Innocent victims should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer at Sammons & Carpenter for assistance in pursuing a case for damages when pedal error has occurred.
Reducing the Risk of a Collision Resulting from Pedal Error
Pedal error occurs any time the driver accidentally steps on the accelerator instead of on the brake. It may also occur if the brake is hit instead of the accelerator or if the driver steps on both the brake and accelerator at the same time. When this occurs, the vehicle may accelerate suddenly and rapidly with no brake force slowing the car down.
Pedal error often happens when a motorist is trying to park a vehicle, at intersections and highway exit ramps where braking is routinely required, and in situations when a driver is traveling at a low speed. Motorists who make a pedal error usually recognize what they have done but cannot correct the error in time to prevent a collision.
Each year, pedal error causes an estimated 16,000 preventable motor vehicle accidents. Motorists and pedestrians sustain serious injury from these accidents and property is routinely damaged. Drivers responsible for the mistake may be required to compensate victims for resulting losses if the victims can prove the driver was unreasonably careless or negligent in stepping on the gas instead of the brake.
The NHTSA has tips and advice for preventing crashes caused by pedal error. NHTSA advises motorists to:
- Become familiar with any vehicle they do not normally drive before they operate it. This includes adjusting mirrors, seats, steering wheels, and adjustable pedals. Motorists should take the time to become familiar with how the brake pedal and accelerator feel before starting to operate the car.
- Aim for the center of the brake pedal each time you hit the brakes. This can reduce the chance of pedal error and reinforce muscle memory.
- Wear correct shoes when operating a vehicle. Heavy boots, high heels, and flip flops all contribute to an added risk of a pedal error crash.
These are just a few keys tips to follow to avoid causing a crash that could lead to serious injury, death, and liability for losses.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a negligent driver. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.