Police Chief and Advisory Committee Encourage Drivers to Be Aware, Cautious Regarding Pedal Error Issues
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers use their brakes nearly a million times per year, usually with no problem. However, about 16,000 preventable crashes occur every year due to pedal error — when drivers mistake the accelerator for the brake.
Pedal error crashes can occur when a driver steps on the accelerator when:
- intending to apply the brake
- the driver’s foot slips off the edge of the brake onto the accelerator, or
- when the driver intends to apply only the brake, but steps on both the brake and the accelerator.
City of Fairfax Police Chief Carl Pardiny and the Police Chief Advisory Committee encourage drivers to exercise pedal safety to prevent accidents.
Watch the NHTSA public service announcement below on tips to avoid pedal error:
According to NHSTA, pedal error crashes can occur when the driver steps on the accelerator when intending to apply the brake; the driver’s foot slips off the edge of the brake onto the accelerator; or when the driver intends to apply only the brake, but steps on both the brake and the accelerator. This can cause sudden vehicle acceleration, often at full-throttle, with no brake force slowing the vehicle down.
These incidents are initiated most frequently in vehicles that are traveling at very low speeds, noted NHSTA, such as when attempting to park the vehicle in parking lots and driveways. They can also occur in other situations in which braking is commonly required, including intersections and highway exit ramps.
Many drivers recognize that a pedal error occurred after the incident, but are unable to correct the error in time to prevent a crash. According to the NHSTA, this happens because once the initial pedal error occurs, the situation develops rapidly, often in the confined space of a parking lot, with drivers only having a few seconds to correct the issue while they are often startled and stressed by the unexpected acceleration of the vehicle.