GM to Expand Brake Override Systems to Nearly All Vehicles

The 'enhanced smart pedal technology' will be applied to all GM passenger cars with automatic transmissions and most trucks and sport utility vehicles sold worldwide.

General Motors said on April 5 it will install brake override systems on nearly all of its vehicles by 2012 in a move aimed at boosting its safety credentials in the wake of mass recalls at rival Toyota.

Toyota has been expanding the use of brake override systems to calm fears after it recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide due to defects which caused vehicles to speed uncontrollably.

A brake override system cuts power to the engine in cases when the brake and accelerator are being depressed at the same time and should allow drivers to bring the vehicle to a stop in case of sudden, unintended acceleration.

The "enhanced smart pedal technology" will be applied to all GM passenger cars with automatic transmissions and most trucks and sport utility vehicles sold worldwide in order to provide "an additional safeguard to enhance customer confidence," GM said.

Brake override systems are not necessary in vehicles with manual transmission because power to the engine can be cut off with the clutch.

GM's vehicles already have braking standards which require them to be able to stop within 551 feet when traveling at a speed of 62 miles per hour.

It has also received significantly less complaints of sudden, unintended accelerators than its competitors, a spokesman said. "News media analyses of government data consistently validates that GM's safety record on this issue is among the strongest in the industry," Tom Stephens, vice chairman for GM global product operations, said.

"At the same time, we know safety is top of mind for consumers, so we are applying additional technology to reassure them that they can count on the brakes in their GM vehicle."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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