NHTSA recommends Brake-Throttle Override technology in passenger vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed updating vehicle safety standards by requiring car manufacturers to include Brake-Throttle Override systems in their cars and light trucks. BTO technology is designed to prevent unintended acceleration of a car.

The proposal comes in the wake of a car accident that occurred in 2009 in San Diego, when a Lexus ES 350 crashed along California Highway 125. Investigators found that the accelerator pedal of the car became stuck, which resulted in the car racing down the highway at around 100 miles per hour. The car subsequently burst into flames and four people were killed in the crash. The accident resulted in a recall of over three million Lexus and Toyota vehicles.

Preventing accidents

Under the NHTSA proposal, all cars and trucks up to 10,000 pounds would be required to have BTO technology to ensure that drivers can stop their cars when they need to. This technology works by reducing the power of the vehicle's engine when the brake pedal becomes stuck, which allows the driver to easily stop the car.

Although the technology will help to stop unintended acceleration accidents, critics of the NHTSA's proposed standard say that it will do little to stop runaway car accidents, because oftentimes these crashes are caused by the drivers themselves, not because the car's accelerator has gotten stuck.

The NHTSA is currently seeking comments from the public about the proposed standard. If adopted, car manufacturers will have two years to comply with the regulation.

Know your rights

If you have been injured in a car accident because of faulty brakes, you may be able to sue the product's manufacturer for damages to cover your medical expenses. Contract a qualified personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you navigate your way through the process of filing a lawsuit.