There is a name for the cause of the car accident that gave one man his personal injuries — it is called ‘pedal misapplication,’ referring to when a driver mistakenly hits the gas pedal when they think it is the brake.

Our San Diego car accident attorneys know a lot about the top causes of car accidents and they are finding that pedal misapplication might need to be added to the list.  In a recent report by the San Diego Union Tribune, pedal misapplication appears to cause of a car accident with senior driver, but this type of crash can happen to anyone.

Accidents from pedal misapplication cause serious personal injuries.

While in a San Diego Costco parking lot last month, the man was in a pedestrian accident with a car driven an 86-year-old motorist.  The elderly motorist accidentally pressed the gas — instead of the brake — and backed into the man as he was loading the trunk of his car.

As a result of his pedestrian accident, the man suffered ten broken ribs, a collapsed lung, fractured pelvis, broken right arm and crushed right shoulder — all of which he is still receiving medical treatment for at a local hospital. The elderly driver had his driver’s license revoked by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and won’t get it back until he can prove to a review board that he is capable of properly driving a vehicle.

“I get these cases maybe one one week, and three the next week,” responded a San Diego police Detective.  “They’re usually hitting several cars or several people, dealing with very rapid acceleration…”

In 2003, one of the worst instances of pedal misapplication took place when an 86-year-old man allegedly applied pressure to the gas pedal, causing the wrongful deaths of 10 people and hurting 63 others as his car rocketed through an outdoor market in Santa Monica, California.

While insurance investigators and government officials do not keep records on the data concerning the age of drivers who hit the gas instead of the brake by mistake, the numbers would suggest that it happens to senior drivers more often than middle-age or teen drivers.

But why is this happening?  That’s a question our car accident attorneys in San Diego are asking.  According to researchers on the issue, the cause of pedal misapplication might be traced back a loss of agility, either mental and physical.  The root cause can stem from illness, prescription medications, or the impacts of old age on the body.

The current solution to the problem rests on the DMV, requiring senior drivers to re-take a licensing exam — including written and visual — when deemed unsafe by their doctors, health care providers, law enforcement officials or family and friends to be behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Is this enough?  If not, what else can be done to ensure that drivers in our community — young or old — do not cause car accidents due to pedal misapplication?

If you or a loved one were injured in a pedal misapplication car accident, then we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego or click here to submit your case for a FREE online review.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe nothing until we recover money on your behalf.