1990-02-01

Pedal Errors in Late-Model Automobiles: A Possible Explanation for Unintended Acceleration 900142

Claims of unintended acceleration in automatic transmission cars is an industry-wide problem. Studies have indicated that in some instances the driver presses the accelerator pedal instead of the brake, and sometimes persists in this error until an accident occurs. (1) (2)
Tests were designed to determine whether pedal errors affect some makes of car more than others; whether certain groups of drivers are especially prone to such errors; and whether errors occur primarily by chance or in combination with such factors as the physical characteristics of the driver, divided attention, unfamiliarity with the vehicle, etc.
During static testing, 26 pedal errors were observed, 14 of them typical of unintended acceleration. One additional error was observed during field tests. It is concluded that pedal errors are more common than has been generally assumed, and that in rare instances such errors result in characteristic unintended acceleration.

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