Pedal errors among younger and older individuals during different pedal operating conditions

Jinglong Wu, Jiajia Yang, Masayuki Yoshitake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the characteristics of pedal errors by younger and older drivers that relate to sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) accidents. Background: SUA during an accident is a serious issue that causes numerous critical injuries and deaths every year. Previous studies have indicated that the major factor in these accidents is pedal error; however, the characteristics that relate to SUA accidents in older drivers remain unclear. Method: Twenty younger drivers (YDs; 23.1 0.22 years) and 20 older drivers (ODs; 68.9 1.16 years) used either one or both feet to participate in six tasks that involved pressing accelerator or brake pedals in response to various visual stimuli. Results: Both the reaction times (RTs) and the pedal error rates of the YD and OD groups significantly increased with the difficulty of the task. Other than the simple reaction condition, we found that the pedal error rates were significantly higher for the OD group than for the YD group; the OD group also demonstrated longer RTs. Moreover, the rates of accelerator error were consistently two or three times higher than the rates of brake error in both the YD and OD groups. Conclusion: For the older population, the use of the left foot to operate the brake pedal and the right foot to operate the accelerator could decrease the accelerator error rate and may reduce the rate of SUArelated accidents that are caused by pedal error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-630
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • aging effect
  • motor vehicle accident
  • pedal error
  • sudden unintended acceleration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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