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A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that most car accidents that occur because a driver mistakenly hits the gas pedal instead of the brakes involve older female drivers in parking lots.
Apparently, almost two-thirds of drivers involved in this type of accident were female, and occurred more frequently with drivers over the age of 76 and under the age of 20. But guys, you aren’t off the hook – when looking at all types of crashes, 60 percent of drivers involved are male.
Following the rash of alleged self-accelerating cars, U.S. regulators are calling for all automakers to make throttle override mechanisms standard equipment in every light vehicle.
This issue came to light after Toyota’s unintended acceleration case, which spurred NHTSA to begin looking into override technology in 2010.
Essentially, the required system would ensure that the brake will overpower the gas pedal when the two are applied simultaneously and bring the car to a stop. A 60-day comment period will be held to gauge public reaction, at the end of which NHTSA will review the proposal again.
The new mechanisms will help drivers feel safer behind the wheel, which is of course one of consumers top concerns. ”America’s drivers should feel confident that anytime they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles — especially in the event of an emergency,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Although many automakers have already taken a preemptive step and made this type of system available, the law would make it mandatory.
“By updating our safety standards, 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,” LaHood said.
You can see the full NHTSA proposal here.
Following a recall to replace floor mats, Toyota has now announced it will again recall 3.8 million vehicles in order to replace or reshape the gas pedal. The decision was made after it was determined the pedal’s shape, along with the shape of the floor mat, could cause the accelerator to stick.
In addition, Toyota has said it will a brake override system that will shut off the engine if both the accelerator and brake pedal are pressed at the same time. This, however, only applies to Toyota Camry and Avalon models, as well as Lexus ES and IS models.
Toyota has said it will notify Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES350 owners by letter before the end of the year, with owners of the five remaining vehicles being notified in 2010.
The recall comes after ABC News reported that the sticking gas pedal had let to more than 200 accidents and 16 related deaths.
Only yesterday Toyota issued a recall for a potentially defective rear crossmember on Tacoma pickups from 2000 to 2003.
For a full list of vehicles concerned in the recall, and the full Toyota announcement, see after the jump: