WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new safety standards for vehicles would add a “brake-throttle override” to vehicles. This feature is designed to ensure a driver can stop a vehicle if he or she depresses the brake and accelerator pedal at the same time. The change is designed to reduce the risk of high-speed unintended acceleration and prevent crashes due to a stuck, or trapped, accelerator pedal.

“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.”

According to NHTSA, the proposed change would amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 124, Accelerator Control Systems. The change would update the throttle control disconnection test procedure for all passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses of any weight. For vehicles with Electronic Throttle Control (ETC), and a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less, the proposal would also require manufacturers include a Brake-Throttle Override (BTO) system.

The public comment period is now open. You can click here to view the proposal.