Effort Underway to Redesign Gas Pedal

Gaspedal
While the technical issues involved in Toyota’s sticky-pedal recalls are still being debated, one factor in many unintended acceleration incidents — Toyota or otherwise — is human error

Since the Toyota pedal incident, the Obama administration has mandated “smart pedals,” which cut off the fuel supply and turn off acceleration if the brake pedal is pressed. However, smart pedals wouldn't help a driver who are unintentionally accelerating but never hit the brakes. According to Masuyuki Naruse, a 74-year-old Japanese inventor, there's a better alternative. 

Instead of having two pedals that you stomp on, Naruse says there should only be one: a brake pedal. Our natural inclination is to “stomp down when we panic,” so only having one pedal that you push to brake is virtually dummy proof, Naruse said. But how would you accelerate? 

With Naruse’s design, you accelerate by tilting your foot sideways onto another pedal that’s mounted for left-right operation. Naruse has tested his “Naruse Pedal,” also called a unified pedal, in more than 130 cars in Japan. Regulators there have declared the pedal street-legal. Retrofitting a car only costs $1,156 and requires no big mechanical changes to the vehicles, he said. 

In 2009 the Japanese government reported that nearly 6,700 traffic accidents and 37 deaths in Japan were the result of driver error, which is when the accelerator was hit instead of the brake. Even Naruse has hit the accelerator when he intended to hit the brakes. 

Naruse says Toyota actually took interest in his unified pedal in 2000 but wasn't satisfied with the design.

Gas-and-Brake Pedal Gets New Look After Recalls (New York Times)
By Colin Bird | August 6, 2010 | Comments (8)
Tags: Safety, Toyota

Comments 

Tony

A russian guy in the eighties made his own car with one pedal design. It was well discussed long time ago.

ermatthe

All that typing for the story and I all I can think about is that huge velcro strap in the picture.

George

The only time an 'override' is needed, is when brake assist is activated.

Derrick G

I wonder if that will also measure me for what size shoe I need?

I have to say, the thought of hours on end with my foot twisted right sounds painful. And I wonder how many times I'd slam on brakes when I suddenly needed to accelerate out of someone's way.

Kevin

What about all us stick-shift drivers? I assume we'd still need a clutch pedal. What happens if I confuse this for the brake?
I don't think this is really practical unless we also mandate drivers wear a lightning-proof helmet while exiting a vehicle. Or if we find Bigfoot.

Dan

How about having the throttle going full bore all the time, and just using the brake peddle to slow the vehicle down?

(sarcasm)

J

How about making the throttle like those on a fighter jet?

GR

I can just see it now, I go to pass someone and slam on the brakes and cause a pile-up behind me. Two pedals are better than one. Three are better than two, as long as I'm at it.

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