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Put more simply, once the pedal was set at a specific position, the friction would help keep the pedal at this setting.This made it easier for the driver to maintain a pedal position.The older mechanically designed accelerator pedals not only provided a spring return, but the mechanism inherently provided some friction.This friction introduced mechanical hysteresis into the pedal force versus pedal position transfer function.On February 8, 2011, the NHTSA, in collaboration with NASA, released its findings into the investigation on the Toyota drive-by-wire throttle system.
Manufacturers of electronic accelerator pedals designed their pedals with additional parts to recreate the tactile response of the older mechanical accelerator pedals.
The return spring force ensured that throttle returned to zero if the pedal force applied by the driver was reduced or removed.
With electronic accelerator pedals, there was little inherent friction because of the simplicity of the mechanical design.
The brake override system, also called "brake to idle" and already a common design in German cars, allows the driver to override the accelerator by hitting the brakes.
In a follow-up statement, the NHTSA announced the November 25, 2009 recall details as a "vehicle-based remedy" to address the floor mat pedal issue. It can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.