Feds Call for Brake Safety Systems in Passenger Vehicles

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Within the past few years, numerous reports have been made about vehicles which had allegedly accelerated out of control. In fact, Toyota Motor Corporation issued a recall for millions of vehicles due to acceleration problems. It all started with a fiery, deadly car accident involving an out-of-control Lexus. Next came negative publicity, as the media reported broadly on sudden acceleration problems and a flood of consumer complaints followed.

After high-profile congressional hearings, this month federal regulators decided to take action. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has formally proposed a new requirement for automakers: make inclusion of brake-throttle override systems mandatory in all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States.

According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, America’s drivers need to be confident in their ability to maintain control of their vehicles at all times. “By updating our safety standards,” says LaHood, “we’re helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake.”

The mandatory system would release the throttle automatically when its onboard sensors deem it necessary to assist drivers in regaining control during sudden acceleration. This would allow drivers to stop their vehicles if the gas pedal became stuck.

The new 98-page federal proposal will be open for a 60-day public comment period before it is finalized. Once it is final, car manufacturers would likely have about two years to bring their automobiles into compliance. However, carmakers such as Nissan, VW, BMW and Chrysler have been offering brake-overrides systems for years. Since 2010, Toyota has made override systems standard.

Nevertheless, people continue to experience sudden acceleration issues in select vehicle models. If you have been injured in such a situation, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.


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