Toyota’s public relations nightmare over unintended acceleration in key models has pushed awareness of enhanced brake technology to the forefront of auto-related discussions in the Obama administration.
Regulators are considering making such “smart” systems mandatory, a move that would give drivers a new avenue to seek insurance premium discounts for onboard safety systems.
Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, the parent agency of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already indicated that he is considering a recommendation to Congress that vehicles in the U.S. be equipped with “smart pedal” technology.
These next-generation pedals are designed to ensure that a vehicle can be stopped safety regardless of malfunction if both the gas and brake pedals are simultaneously activated.
David Strickland, chief of the NHTSA, said in prepared testimony for a U.S. House panel, “If our review indicates that requiring this feature could substantially reduce the most dangerous kinds of sudden acceleration, we will strongly consider a rulemaking to require it.”
“We will assess the need to develop performance standards for accelerator pedals to prevent pedal entrapment,” said Strickland. “We also plan to undertake work to evaluate the benefits of mandatory event data recorders in vehicles and we want to take a close look at push-button start and stop technologies.”