May 13, 2019 Detroit - The U.S. government is withdrawing a proposal to require all passenger vehicles to have safety systems to prevent unintended acceleration.
The move comes as the administration of President Donald Trump pushes to reduce or eliminate regulations, which Trump considers an unnecessary burden on industry. “NHTSA does not find that there is presently a safety need for a BTO (brake-throttle override) requirement,” the agency said in the withdrawal notice, which was posted Monday on a government website.
The rule also would have required vehicles to return to idle if a driver stops pressing the gas pedal. Override systems would have been required in passenger cars, trucks and buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Most large trucks and buses weigh more than that, however.
Today, the system could only be a luxury item in cars since the government does not require it. The proposed rule was an outgrowth of investigations in 2010 into claims that electronic defects were causing unintended acceleration in some Toyota models. An investigation by NHTSA and a separate study by NASA ruled out electronic defects in high-speed crashes and determined that in some cases drivers had inadvertently pressed the brake and gas pedal at the same time or that gas pedals had become trapped by floor mats.
One accident that gained attention was the August 2009 high-speed crash of a Lexus near San Diego that resulted in the deaths of four people. Investigators determined that the driver, a veteran California highway patrolman, had applied the brake of the loaned car but was unable to override the accelerator, which was trapped by a floor mat.