Sudden Unintended Acceleration: Pedal Application Error

This presentation will cover:

  • Understanding the phenomenon – the error occurs as we cannot see the pedals when we are driving, if our foot becomes 'disorientated', and presses the accelerator instead of the brake, the brain does not realise the error, and instead sends the message to press harder on the brake pedal, thus accelerating even more, rather than braking.
  • Understanding the consequences – we have 19 active claims arising out of incidents where drivers pressed the brake instead of the accelerator, and two where they continued to accelerate for quite some time: one driving into and injuring several children at a summer camp, and another where the car ended up driving through the exterior wall of a house and coming to rest in the family room on top of a mother and daughter.
  • What can be done? – research has already been commissioned by TfL to look into this issue with bus drivers, and what can be done to prevent it. What else can be done?

Claire Glasgow and Jennifer Kelly, Fieldfisher

Claire Glasgow (left) and Jennifer Kelly are members of the serious injury team at Fieldfisher. Claire is a director on the team, with nine years’ experience. Jennifer has worked in the field of personal injury since qualifying as a barrister in 2018, and is now about to qualify as a solicitor.

Claire and Jennifer typically work on high value personal injury claims, assisting claimants who have suffered catastrophic injury as a result of negligence. A large portion of their work arises out of road traffic accidents.

Seeing obvious and recurring dangers on our roads, Jennifer, Claire and the wider serious injury team at Fieldfisher are active in promoting safer roads, and road use. Representing several individuals who have suffered injury and loss as a result of smart motorways, Jennifer has been involved in campaigns to end these motorways. Claire is a trustee of Headway Sussex, and has fundraised for Headway as well as other charities.

Claire and Jennifer are currently representing several individuals, including children, who have been catastrophically injured as a result of sudden unintended acceleration as a result of pedal application error, and they feel that this is a phenomenon that could be reduced, if not eradicated completely, with focused research and innovation.