Car accidents happen every day for a variety of reasons. From bad weather to inattentive drivers, these causes contribute to the growing number of collisions reported every year across the country. However, some accidents occur because of driver confusion and lack of experience handling a vehicle.
These factors are often the case when a wreck is caused because the driver gets the gas pedal confused with the brake pedal. Before the public rushes to judge or laughs off such a circumstance, people would benefit by understanding these unique accidents and what should be done if they are ever involved in one.
Women and Gas Pedal Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 60% of these types of wrecks are caused by women drivers. While the NHTSA does not give a reason for why women seem to be the cause of many of these circumstances, it does note that about two-thirds of motorists involved in such wrecks tend to be female.
Though this statistic is bound to be upsetting news to some women, especially since most of us have always heard that women are better drivers than men, this above mention static is referring specifically to gas pedal accidents and not a generalization of driving experiences. In fact, a 2010 New York City study found that 80% of collisions that fatally or seriously wounded pedestrians involved men over a five year period.
It should be noted, however, that female drivers who wreck their cars because they confuse the gas and brake pedal tend to crash in parking lots rather than the open road. Still, motor vehicle experts continue to speculate and research why this gender causes most of these kinds of crashes.
Teenagers play an active role in gas pedal accidents. Scientists note that teenagers’ brains are still developing and often make it difficult for them to keep vital information, such as the placement of the gas and brake pedals in a car, in mind when they are behind the wheel of a car.
Because driving is a rite of passage in this country, however, parents may wonder what they can do to prevent their young motorist from wrecking the family car because of such confusion. In the case of youthful drivers, experts urge parents to enroll their kids in driver’s education courses and make sure their teens have plenty of practice before letting them head out onto the open roads.
This practice could help young drivers avoid an accident such as one that happened recently in Tampa. A 16 year-old driver confused the two pedals and hit two pedestrians, resulting in both pedestrians sustaining devastating injuries. Though this type of accident is common among new drivers, some people believe it can be avoided by raising the minimum driving age from 16 to 18 years old due to the assumption that more mature drivers will make for safer drivers.
The elderly also cause many of these kinds of accidents. As with teenagers, the elderly often have difficulty remembering which pedal is the brake and which one accelerates the car. Motor vehicle experts observe that these drivers, particularly those above the age of 76, experience greater pedal confusion when driving and thus put themselves and others at risk.
These same experts continue to debate how often seniors should be tested for their driver’s licenses and at what age senior citizens should consider surrendering their driving privileges. The notion that seniors may lose their liberty to drive as they get older will, no doubt, be fought tooth and nail by senior citizens and their advocates.
With these statistics in mind, then, people may wonder what they should do if they find themselves involved in a wreck that has been caused by gas pedal confusion. Florida law, for example, mandates that the person who caused the accident is the one responsible for paying for the damages and medical expenses of the victims. As with any motor vehicle wreck, people should:
• Call law enforcement immediately
• Exchange information with the driver
• Retain an attorney, if necessary, to recoup medical and repair expenses.
This advice and simply being aware that these types of wrecks happen frequently everywhere can help people stay safe and avoid being the victim of a gas pedal accident.