Automakers Announce New Safety Features


General Motors and Mazda will be introducing safer pedals in their vehicles following massive recalls of Toyotas (Stock Quote: TM) due to cases of unintended acceleration.

GM plans to install smart pedals with brake-throttle override technology, according to USA Today, which will stop a car when both the gas and the brakes are pressed at the same time.  The technology is expected to be in all of the automaker’s vehicles by the end of 2012.

Mazda says a brake-throttle override system will be available in its new Mazda 2 this summer and in all of its vehicles by the 2011 model year end, USA Today reports.

Drivers of Mazda vehicles have not experienced unintended acceleration; the new system is just an added safety feature, Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes told the paper.

At the New York International Auto Show this week, Ford (Stock Quote: F)  is highlighting new safety features in its vehicles as well, including an inflatable seat belt designed for kids sitting in the back seat.  The feature is expected to be available in 2011.

Toyota may be facing a $16.4 million fine because of its delay notifying the government about its accelerator pedal problems.  $16.4 million is the maximum fine allowed for a recall under the Tread Act, which was established following massive recalls of Firestone tires on Ford Explorers nearly ten years ago, according to The New York Times,  Toyota has two weeks to accept or contest the fine.

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