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Hyundai Adds Throttle Override to Entire Lineup

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer
  • Hyundai is adding a throttle override system to its lineup
  • The feature ensures the brake pedal can override the accelerator
  • A pending government proposal could make the feature standard in all cars

Hyundai will soon offer a throttle override system on its entire lineup ahead of pending government regulations that could mandate the technology in all vehicles. The automaker recently announced the update, which ensures the brake pedal can override the accelerator if both are pressed simultaneously.

According to Hyundai, every model in its lineup will feature the system as standard equipment beginning with May production. While the automaker didn't go into specifics about how its throttle override system works, similar systems in competitive vehicles use sensors that detect when the brake pedal and accelerator are pressed at the same time. The sensors then communicate to the car's central computer, which slows the vehicle by reducing fuel injected into the engine.

While throttle override technology isn't new, it didn't gain widespread attention until a series of Toyota recalls were announced in 2009 and 2010, intended to remedy potentially sticking accelerator pedals. One recall, which affected nearly 4 million vehicles in North America, included the installation of a throttle override designed to allow drivers to stop their vehicles even if the accelerator pedal became stuck. Since the recalls, several other automakers - including BMW, Chrysler, General Motors and Mercedes - fitted similar systems in their vehicles as standard equipment or announced they would add the technology by the end of the year.

"With Hyundai's brake pedal throttle override capability, any brake pedal input by the driver, even with a runaway throttle condition, completely overrides any throttle malfunction," said Robert Babcock, director of certification and compliance affairs for Hyundai's technical center. "It is no longer possible to have increasing engine power once the brake pedal is depressed by the driver. This adds a reassuring, incremental safeguard of control for Hyundai drivers."

Although Hyundai's decision to add a throttle override will be a welcome change for safety-conscious drivers, a recent proposal from the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could mandate the inclusion of similar systems in all vehicles under 10,000 lbs. While the proposal has yet to be approved, it would likely take effect after the 2013 model year.

What it means to you: Hyundai buyers will soon have one less item to worry about while driving - even if the chances of an accelerator pedal sticking are slim.

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