Car drivers in Indiana and around the country face situations where they need to apply their brakes about a million times each year, but they do not always put their feet on the right pedal. Drivers often panic when they press down on the wrong pedal because their cars speed up instead of slowing down, which usually leads them to press down even harder. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver pedal error causes up to 16,000 accidents each year. These accidents usually occur at low speeds when motorists are attempting to park or pull into a driveway or parking lot.
Avoiding pedal error
Road safety experts say that drivers can reduce their chances of a pedal error crash by remaining vigilant, maintaining proper driving form and ensuring that their seat is properly adjusted. They should also wear footwear appropriate for driving and avoid getting behind the wheel in cumbersome work boots or shoes with wide soles or high heels.
Pedal error was rarely talked about until 1986. That was when the popular news show “60 Minutes” aired a segment about deadly motor vehicle accidents that were being caused by unintended acceleration in Audi 5000 sedans. The German manufacturer denied the claims made in the television report and maintained that the vehicles were safe, but sales of the luxury sedan ground to a virtual halt. Experts found nothing wrong with fuel delivery system in the Audi 5000, and they concluded that the problem was being caused by pedal error and not unintended acceleration.
Building a personal injury case
The “60 Minutes” report and ensuing investigations reveal that the causes of automobile accidents are not always clear. This is why accident victims and their attorneys should gather all of the facts before taking legal action. If an investigation shows that an accident was caused by the other driver’s pedal error and not a mechanical defect, the defendant in a subsequent lawsuit would be the person behind the wheel rather than the manufacturer of the vehicle they were driving.