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NTSB CALLS FOR IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY, PEDAL DESIGN TO MINIMIZE RISK OF PEDAL MISAPPLICATION IN HEAVY VEHICLES



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                      NTSB PRESS RELEASE

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National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2009

SB-09-48

 

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NTSB CALLS FOR IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY, PEDAL DESIGN TO MINIMIZE

RISK OF PEDAL MISAPPLICATION IN HEAVY VEHICLES

 

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In a Special Investigation Report (SIR) adopted today, the

National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pedal

misapplication was a factor in five heavy vehicle accidents

investigated by the Board between 2005 and 2008. Pedal

misapplication occurs when a driver depresses the

accelerator instead of, or in addition to, the brake pedal.

 

The report was prompted by the Board's investigation of a

school bus accident that occurred in Liberty, Missouri, in

May 2005. The NTSB subsequently investigated four additional

accidents that shared common elements. In all five, the

drivers either reported a loss of braking or were observed

by vehicle occupants to be unsuccessfully attempting to stop

the vehicles, though no evidence of braking system failure

was found.

 

The Board noted that the purpose of the report was not only

to review these recent investigations and the Board's

previous work on pedal misapplications, but also to examine

the potential benefits of a variety of possible

technological solutions and to present safety

recommendations designed to prevent or mitigate the

consequences of pedal misapplication involving heavy

vehicles.

 

As a result of this report, the Board called upon the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to

require the installation of technology in heavy vehicles

susceptible to pedal misapplication to prevent unintended

acceleration when starting from a parked position. The Board

also recommended that NHTSA both conduct an analysis of

pedal configurations in heavy vehicles and study the effect

of pedal design on the driving task. Upon completion of the

analysis, the Board recommended that NHTSA publish pedal

design guidelines for designers and manufacturers.

Additional recommendations were made to the National

Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation

Services and the National Association for Pupil

Transportation to advise their members of the dangers of

pedal misapplication and to consider driver refresher

training and suggested mitigation strategies.

 

The NTSB also reiterated and reclassified two 1999 safety

recommendations made to NHTSA requiring event data recorders

on school buses and motorcoaches manufactured after January

1, 2003, and for NHTSA to work with other government

agencies and industry to develop and implement standards for

on-board recording of bus crash data.

 

A synopsis of the Special Investigation Report, including

the findings, probable cause determinations for two

accidents, and safety recommendations, can be found on the

Board's website at www.ntsb.gov. The complete report will be

available within several weeks.

 

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NTSB Media Contact: Bridget Serchak

202-314-6100

Bridget.serchak@xxxxxxxx

 

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