In our October 2009 magazine issue we investigated the issue of brake pedal misapplication and a push by the National Transportation Safety Board to get NHTSA to write a new vehicle standard that would require all new school buses come equipped with brake transmission interlock systems.
Last fall, NASDPTS came out in support of NTSB's recommendations to the industry, including NAPT and NSTA, that all school bus drivers be trained to overcome any chance that the two pedals could be confused during vehicle operation. NHTSA had yet to officially move on the recommendations stemming from several several school bus crashes that NTSB said were caused by drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal.
It provides some background to the much-publicized Toyota recalls last year that were tied to what some owners claimed was a sudden acceleration problem with the company's electronic throttle control systems. The U.S. Department of Transportation took notice, as did Congress, and pledged to get the the bottom of it.
Apparently it has done just that. And Toyota is obviously happy.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that engineers from NHTSA and NASA partnered to investigate the issue to see if electromagnetic interference could be the culprit. NHTSA and NASA concluded that the Toyota vehicles had no electronic flaws that could produce "the large throttle openings required to create dangerous unintended acceleration accidents." Other issues are also being chalked up to motorists confusing the gas pedal with the brake pedal.
But, as many of our readers will recall, Toyota did issue recalls to fix two other problems: accelerator pedals that got stuck on the driver-side floor mats and "sticky pedals" that released to slowly.