Toyota has introduced what it says is a new and improved fail-safe technology that could prevent crashes if drivers unintentionally step on the gas instead of hitting the brakes. According to Consumer Reports, the automaker’s new Acceleration Suppression Function will build on an earlier throttle-override system that employs sensors to detect obstacles such as nearby cars or walls. Toyota says the new system will work to detect sudden acceleration even if no nearby objects are present.
Addressing Pedal Misapplication
Toyota says it looked at data from actual car accidents that were caused by drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedals. It compared these situations with data collected from a fleet of cars connected to servers via the Internet. By doing this comparison, Toyota was able to eliminate situations where the driver wanted to accelerate. If the system detects pedal misapplication, it will automatically slow down the vehicle. Toyota plans to roll out the new system this summer beginning with models in Japan.
Pedal misapplication can be a serious problem. They happen typically in low-speed situations such as pulling into a garage, parking or leaving a parking spot. While other electronic throttle overrides are meant to help drivers if there is a malfunction that causes sudden acceleration, this particular technology attempts to fix a common, predictable human error, officials said.
Toyota began to roll out electronic throttle safety controls after a series of high-profile incidents involving sudden acceleration in its vehicles a decade ago. After abundant media coverage and congressional hearings over these auto defects, Toyota ended up recalling more than 2 million vehicles and paid a $1.2 billion criminal penalty to the Justice Department for concealing information about the safety defect not only from the public but also from government regulators.
Here in Southern California, we see a number of cases where pedal misapplication occurs. We see several cases where people are trying to pull out from a parking space, but hit the gas instead of the brakes and ram into buildings or stores, sometimes causing serious injuries or even fatalities. We hope Toyota’s new technology can prove life-saving in these types of scenarios.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a vehicle defect, mechanical malfunction or driver negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.