Imagine yourself going down the road with your foot on the brake pedal all the time. This is a Japanese inventor’s idea to stop driver error and unintended acceleration. To accelerate, you move your foot sideways against an accelerator bar. To brake, you stomp on the brake. A horrible thought – if you are a personal injury lawyer.
“We have a natural tendency to stomp down when we panic,” says the inventor, Masuyuki Naruse. What’s more, in an accident, you are very likely to accelerate, because of the impact. In the split second it takes to change from gas to conventional brake pedal, with the new pedal, you are already braking.
There is little chance to hit the wrong pedal with the new setup.” When the pedal is pushed down, it always activates the brakes,” writes the New York Times.
Naruse developed the pedal 20 years ago, after he mistakenly stepped on the gas – as many others did, but often not admitted. Naruse did something about it. Natuse holds patents for the pedal in Japan, the United States and six other countries.
Naruse is not the only one who have designed a single pedal solution to prevent accidents caused by pedal misapplication. Regulators in Sweden are testing a single-pedal prototype by the inventor Sven Gustafsson.
Katsuya Matsunaga, an engineering and psychology specialist at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka City says: “Simply speaking, the conventional pedal setup, which forces drivers to switch back and forth between pedals, is dangerous. Mr. Naruse’s pedal works because it takes into account how our bodies work. It makes sure that when we make a mistake, the car stops.”
According to Naruse, Toyota engineers tested a prototype in 2000, but did not like the design. In May, Naruse invited Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, to try a Lexus sedan fitted with the latest version of his pedal. Mr. Naruse said he had received no response.
Tip of the Skype to you-know-who.