Study examines accidents caused by hitting the wrong pedal

There's No Substitute for Experience

While anyone can mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of a brake pedal in a motor vehicle, it turns out that women, those drivers over the age of 76 and those under the age of 20 are more likely to hit the wrong pedal and cause an accident.

This study, which focused on pedal confusion, is the opposite of national motor vehicle accident trends. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 60 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. involve male drivers. However, when just looking at accidents caused by hitting the gas instead of the brake, close to two-thirds of these types of crashes involved a female driver.

Additionally, these types of accidents happened more often with a driver who is either older than age 76 or under age 20. And while there can be a number of reasons for this trend, researchers point to the fact that it may have something to do with the parts of the brain that deal with what is known as executive functioning, which includes brain function surrounding things like organizing, planning and attention. This type of brain development is reportedly not fully functioning until adulthood, which would explain why those under the age of 20 may accidentally hit the wrong pedal.

However, along those same lines, older drivers tend to not do as well at executive functioning either, which would explain the increase in these types of accidents among those older than age 76.

The majority of these types of pedal confusion accidents also tend to happen in driveways, parking garages and parking lots. However, it's believed pedal confusion still happens when people are driving on actual roads, but that drivers may have more of a chance to correct themselves before getting in an accident.

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