UN draws up regulation to prevent car accidents caused by pedal misapplication

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, or UNECE, says it has drawn up a new regulation on functions to limit unintended sudden acceleration of vehicles.

UNECE said on Thursday the new regulation is designed to prevent accidents caused by drivers who press the acceleration pedal instead of the brake pedal by mistake.

The regulation specifies performance and testing methods of such functions.

It stipulates the prevention of unintended acceleration should be ensured if the driver strongly presses the acceleration pedal by mistake when an obstacle, such as another car or a wall, is in front of or behind the vehicle.

UNECE says the regulation will only apply to passenger cars equipped with automatic transmissions, which are said to be highly related to accidents caused by pedal misapplication.

It points out a correlation between pedal misapplication and a driver's age. It warns of potentially increased risk of accidents in the future, citing the estimate that the number of people aged 65 or older worldwide will more than double by 2050.

UNECE referred to Japan as an example. It said elderly drivers in Japan are eight times more likely to make the mistake than other generations. It added Japan proposed a draft UN regulation to address the issue.

The new regulation is expected to be officially adopted in November.

As early as June of next year or later, mainly European countries will be obliged to enact a domestic law to introduce a system to prevent sudden acceleration.

Japan has seen a series of accidents caused by drivers who stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake by mistake.

A car driven by a man in his 80s crashed into a convenience store in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward on Tuesday. Two customers at the store were injured.

Japan's National Police Agency says that last year, there were 36 fatal accidents caused by pedal misapplication across the country. More than 60 percent of the cases were caused by drivers aged 75 or older.