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Letters to the Editor, September 8, 2016

The Blame Game - Real men and the tragedy of right foot braking on automatic cars

 

The car has always been one of the most dangerous modes of transportation from not only the driver’s point of view but also other victims such as cyclists, pedestrians and people including children, inside supposedly safe buildings.

There are times when car crashes reach epidemic proportions and at this point politicians and governments play the blame game. The favorite and easy targets are the automobile manufacturers and the drivers. The governments in charge of driver legislation and training never blame themselves so if you don’t mind we will.

This is the story of how things went horribly wrong because testosterone got in the way. You see, Real men in or out of government believe that every driver should brake an automatic car with their right foot. Truth be told Real men would like us to all drive manual transmission cars but the women got in the way and ruined a manly tradition.

We now have evidence (If the Real men would look at it), that indicates that right foot braking on automatic cars is:

1. The cause of car-building/parking lot crashes.

2. The cause or the weakness (poor stopping distance) of car-cyclist, pedestrian, etc crashes.

The politicians will argue that this tragedy has been studied. That is true, reports DOT HS811 597 and DOT HS812 058 have been issued. The reports say:

1. A lot of people are being killed or injured by right foot pedal error. The forecast is that between 16,000 and 18,000 car-building crashes will occur in North America this year with an estimated death rate of approximately 600, many of them children. This means since the automatic transmission became popular over 30,000 people have been killed, millions suffered life changing injuries and the costs have been in the billions.  AND THIS IS ONLY IN PARKING LOTS. If one does a little math and estimates the effect of including the cars on roadways, 150,000 deaths, millions and millions of injuries, billions and billions of costs is a reasonable estimate!

Actually the boys who wrote the reports couldn’t bring themselves to use the phrase” right foot pedal error”. They called it the politically correct phrase “pedal misapplication”. Oh and by the way they said it was mostly the fault of the women and old people drivers. I’m quite sure this met with the approval of the Real men who are convinced that neither of these two groups should be allowed to be on the road.

2. It appears that there isn’t any car that can be designed for all the different sized drivers that will prevent right foot pedal error so we will just have to do the best we can.

Did it not occur to the many learned professional people who wrote these reports that just maybe they should have concentrated on the driver - not the car. That maybe there was a braking METHOD that would allow all drivers of all shapes and sizes, to for example stop a car in a distance 30 – 40 feet shorter than they could if they used their right foot to brake.  And that the use of such a method would eliminate right foot pedal error? Could they have had that kind of tunnel vision? Or were they told not to go there? After all who is going to stand up and apologize to the 30,000 – 150,000 people who have lost their lives.

To further rub salt in the wounds, the Real men in charge of driver legislation and training continue to hold right foot braking on automatic cars up as the gold standard and constantly deride all other methods of braking such as the Left Foot Braking Method, leftfootbraking.org. This with the full knowledge that they have never had any scientific data that proves the superiority of right foot braking. Their science can be summed up by quoting a government transportation expert who said, “That’s how it’s been taught”! These are the people you are trusting to teach your children how to stay alive while driving but as pointed out on the website, have been set up to FAIL!

There is an answer to this tragedy and you can help:

1. Go to leftfootbraking.org and learn about how the Real men should have taught drivers to brake an automatic car. It is the Left Foot Braking Method and it is not just trying to brake with your left foot so read carefully.

2. Contact your government and demand they support and run a scientific study comparing right foot braking on automatic cars with the Left Foot Braking Method.

3. We are confident what the results will be. So based on the results of the scientific study, we then want you to demand the governments BAN the teaching of right foot braking on automatic cars.

4. And finally we want you to demand the Real men stand up and apologize to the 150,000 dead people and the millions and millions who have had life changing injuries.

Oh and by the way the semi-autonomous car is not going to help. Once the thrill is gone, the driver switches back to his normal “I am in control” mode and the possibility of right foot pedal error. We have already had our first SA end up in a building!

Trevor W. Frith

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