Left Foot Braking Method

Executive Summary

This website is about how to save the lives of 21 pedestrians and cyclists who die each day because an automatic or electric car, "did not stop in time". This is not rocket science but simply high school physics. The solution is obvious but has not been accepted because of politics and systemic behavior on the part of some of those in charge of pedestrian and cyclist safety.

All of this is not new but conveniently ignored. UCLA Professor Richard Allen Schmidt, an intellectual leader in motor learning and control told us as far back as 1989 that we were "braking bad". His work with Audi and Toyota proved the dangers of the right foot braking method. The Toyota floor mat debacle turned out to be just more right foot pedal errors which continue to occur 40,000 times each day!

A car travelling at 60 mph will travel 88 feet every second. Any person in that 88 foot zone will be killed. Therefore the objective is to stop the car as soon as possible. To stop the car, the driver must apply a foot to the brake pedal, (a) as fast as possible and (b) in a manner that will not cause the foot to hit the gas pedal. These two objectives are key to saving lives.

When we were taught how to brake an automatic car, we were told emphatically (brainwashed?), that the right foot braking method was the best and only way to brake an automatic car.

We believe the Left Foot Braking Method (Which is NOT, repeat NOT simply trying to use your left foot to brake), will allow the driver to make contact with the brake pedal, (a) ¾ of a second sooner, thus stopping the car in a much shorter distance and (b) making "hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal", impossible. A 3/4 of a second shorter brake time would also prevent most "right on red pedestrian crashes".

We want those in charge of saving pedestrians and cyclist's lives to run a SCIENTIFIC study comparing the two braking methods using a government sponsored program called BTSCRP (Details listed below in this website).

Please read the website in its entirety and if you agree, sign the petition and ask your governor to tell the "boys" to just get on with the SCIENTIFIC study!


The objective of this site is to inform the general public about an epidemic that has resulted in deaths of and injuries to thousands of pedestrians, cyclists and car occupants each year. We will explain what we feel is the cause of this epidemic, the solution to the epidemic and who we believe does not want this solution to be tested. We then hope the general public will demand those in charge take the necessary steps to eliminate these deaths and injuries.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has recently released a report about the growing number of deaths and injuries of pedestrians and cyclists. They blame distracted driving among other things for the increase. We will not argue with that but what about all the deaths before the introduction of the cell phone? There are a lot of reasons for these deaths but there is a solution. What if the vehicle could instantaneously stop in time to save a life without taking away our right to be a driver? WAS IT DRIVER ERROR OR THE WAY WE TAUGHT THEM TO BRAKE? Perhaps that's a stretch but are we doing everything we can to try to work towards that goal? We think not and we would humbly suggest male drivers both in and out of government are the problem.

We have 10 years of feedback (hate mail?) from male drivers so we have a pretty good idea how they think and they are still calling the shots. First of all, is it even an important issue to male drivers? Daily feedback reminds us that these victims are usually walking on the road, wearing dark clothing, moving slowly through the cross walk, jaywalking, homeless, etc. Our reply to that is:


Speaking of technology, many say it will save us and therefore those in charge of saving these lives don't need to have anything more to do with improving the driver's ability to brake. Let's talk about technology and the effect on the male driver. There may come a time when the driverless car in urban, perfect climate areas such as Florida 'stops in time'. That may take some time and in the interim they have apparently decided to do nothing as it relates to improving the driver's ability to stop in shorter distances. Then there is the issue of freedom. If you think the gun control issue is a problem, wait until they tell 222 million drivers that they must turn in their driver's licenses because from now on they are only going to be a passenger in a driverless vehicle! Did I mention we get feedback? Male drivers gleefully tell us how to disconnect all the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) that are on new vehicles. The backup camera is about the only survivor.

We believe the deaths of pedestrians and cyclists once again highlight the flaws of the 'Killer' right foot braking method which we are all forced to use when braking an electric or automatic transmission vehicle. Today and every day it will be responsible for the deaths of 21 pedestrians (in and out of buildings) and cyclists, as well as injuries to hundreds. The equivalent of the Las Vegas massacre every three days!

These crashes are usually reported in one of two ways:

1Hit the gas instead of the brake. (Car-building/parking lot crash).

2Could not stop in time. (Car-pedestrian/cyclist crash). Poor reaction time and stopping distance.

Those in charge of driver legislation and training at the state and federal levels say they care but have steadfastly refused to scientifically test the right foot braking method with other safer, easier to learn and age retain methods such as the left foot braking method, (Braking with the left foot is not, repeat not the Left Foot Braking Method). They appear to be oblivious to the work of Professor Richard Schmidt of UCLA who wrote extensively on the flaws and dangers of the right foot braking method. Download "Revisionist History" by Malcolm Gladwell, Episode 8, Blame Game. Also note that NHTSA recently investigated Tesla regarding some 200 car-building crashes by Tesla cars. It was found that in all cases it was driver right foot pedal errors (Politically called pedal misapplication or UAPE), that was the problem!

The National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) have known about the dangerous flaws of the right foot braking method for years and have produced reports DOT HS 811 597, 812 058 and 812 431 (spaces required). These reports showed that right foot pedal errors (pedal misapplication) are committed 40,000 per day by drivers of all ages and gender but especially by women drivers, whom they blamed for most of the crashes. BUT for some unknown reason, which no one in charge wants to discuss, no more research has been carried out. One would have expected that instead of just continuing to blame women drivers, they might have asked themselves two basic questions:

1Is it possible to develop a braking method that would be more suitable for female drivers (AND male drivers, if they would admit it!), which would prevent these crashes.

2Do we actually have any scientific justification for teaching the right foot braking method?

We believe a scientific study would prove the answer to point one is YES. The answer to point two is NO!

So if you care even a little about these needless deaths and injuries or are just curious or feel the need to defend the male drivers 'RITE OF PASSAGE' (If you can't operate the gas and the brake with your right foot, you should stay in the kitchen), please go to the section of the website entitled, 'What can I do to help' and ask GHSA to run the study. We need more scientific answers from those in charge, instead of THAT'S THE WAY IT'S ALWAYS BEEN TAUGHT!

Please read on to learn how this epidemic evolved.

The Problem

At the time of the introduction of the automatic transmission the automotive world was dominated by men. Little thought was given to the prospect of selling a large number of cars to women. Marketing departments of some automotive manufacturers did recognize that women were coming into the workplace at a greater rate and that one day they might be driving a lot of cars. These marketing departments did consider what changes might be made to automotive designs to appeal to women in terms of glitz and glamour but unfortunately not health and safety.

Not enough research was done to consider what the combination of the old right foot braking and the new automatic transmission would have on women drivers and in fact on all drivers in general. Not enough health and safety research was committed regarding this lethal combination under the following circumstances:

1The driver was wearing high heeled shoes.

2The driver was wearing flip flops

3The driver wasn't wearing any footwear.

4That the driver under the above circumstances would be required to laboriously move their right foot from the gas pedal, up and over to where they thought the brake pedal was and lower it unto the brake pedal, especially in a moment of panic.

Indeed, even if these men had thought only about their own gender, they would have realized that driving shoes for most men had been replaced by construction boots, winter boots, sandals, flip flops, cowboy boots, etc. and that this type of footwear would make right foot braking a challenge.

Trying to brake a car under these circumstances to often results in driver Unintended Acceleration Pedal Error (UAPE). Unintended Acceleration may be described as the movement forwards or backwards of an out of control automobile.

Pedal error may be described by using various terms such as pedal misapplication, step over, RFGP (right foot slips off the brake pedal and lands on the gas pedal) etc.

There are two distinct types of UAPE which usually occur in a moment of panic.

Type one involves a situation where the driver attempts to move the right foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal but the foot misses the brake pedal and lands on the gas pedal. In this situation the driver is aware of the pedal error and attempts to correct the action and may or may not before the crash.

Type two involves a situation where the driver attempts to move the right foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal but the foot misses the brake pedal and lands on the gas pedal. In this situation the driver is convinced that the right foot is indeed on the brake pedal (but it is in fact on the gas pedal), and continues to press even harder on the brake pedal (now the gas pedal), until the crash occurs. Type two can occur over a period of several seconds and in many instances the driver suffers such trauma that they do not recall what driving error they committed.

All of this is not new. The late Professor Richard A. Schmidt, Ph.D. of UCLA spent years studying Unintended Acceleration (UA). In fact, he appeared as an expert witness in many court cases. One of his last papers, Unintended Acceleration: Role of One-Foot and Two - Foot Driving Styles, brings into question the wisdom of right foot braking. To hear an interview with Richard A. Schmidt, search Malcolm Gladwell, "Revisionist History", Episode 8, Blame Game.

Simply put, attempting to brake a car equipped with an automatic transmission by braking with the right foot is too complicated for the average driver, male or female, especially in a moment of panic! Further research regarding the dangers of the right foot braking method can be found in the research of Professor Nobuyuki Kawai, at Nagoya University. His research highlighted that it is more difficult for the brain to handle a movement, when the right foot is pressed on the brake pedal, AT AN ANGLE, rather than straight to the floor! In the Left Foot Braking Method, the left foot braking movement is STRAIGHT and the right foot gas pedal movement is STRAIGHT! Most problems in the field of transportation are solvable. What is required is that those in charge have (a) The Capability to connect the dots and (b) more importantly, the Courage to connect the dots.

To the credit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other parties these pedal errors have been partially documented and when their data is extrapolated on a North American basis it is realized that these pedal errors may occur up to 40,000 times per day. The data for parking lot crashes alone indicates that each day 6 people are killed (many of them children) and thousand receive life changing injures. It has been estimated that 'Could not stop in time' results in the daily deaths of 15 pedestrians/cyclists.

If you have any difficulty believing these statistics, do your own research. Distribute a SECRET ballot to a group of your colleagues. The ballot will simply read, "Has your foot slipped off the brake pedal in the last six months? Yes or No?" Over 70% of those balloted will answer YES!

It will also be of interest to examine the brake pedal of your car or any other car that is equipped with an automatic transmission and is over two years old. Note how the right side of the brake pedal is worn to a greater degree than the left side. This wear pattern represents "near misses" of UAPE.

The prejudice against women drivers has not abated over the years. For example, the NHTSA report of 2012 concerning parking lot crashes in North Carolina, resulted in headlines such as, "Women more likely to mistake pedals in parking lot crashes, study finds". The male population grunted and said, of course, women really shouldn't be driving anyway. The NHTSA update report of June 2015 brought out the headlines, "Pedal Pushers Pushing Wrong Pedals Cause 16,000 Crashes per Year"

The real headline should have read, "Antiquated right foot method of braking, developed by men, found to be the main culprit in parking lot crashes"

NHTSA has over the years continued to try to fix the problem. The June 2015 report recommended drivers:

1Get familiar with mirrors, pedals etc.

2Aim for the middle of the brake pedal when braking. (When the driver is mounting a parking curb in a moment of panic, we question how this could be carried out)

3Avoid distractions.

4Be Cautious.

5Wear the right shoes. (It isn't going to happen)

Our recommendation is to stop trying to treat the symptoms of the disease and instead get rid of the disease... Get rid of right foot braking on EVs and automatic vehicles.

When vehicles were improved by going from two wheel braking to 4 wheel braking, we had SCIENCE. SCIENCE proved the vehicle stopped in a shorter distance and saved lives. When vehicles were improved further by going from mechanical to hydraulic braking, we had SCIENCE. SCIENCE proved this saved even more lives. The same is true of all other recent braking improvements. WHY NO SCIENCE TO COMPARE DRIVER BRAKING METHODS? JUST TRADITION, TESTOSTERONE AND POLITICS!

The Solution

The proposed solution is the Left Foot Braking Method.

At this point a note of clarification is required: BRAKING WITH YOUR LEFT FOOT IS NOT, REPEAT NOT THE LEFT FOOT BRAKING METHOD. Perhaps we should change the name to THE SAFER BRAKING METHOD. Many so-called experts think we are talking about braking with the driver's left foot technique whatever that is supposed to mean as there are no clear definitions (Ask five different "experts" and you will get five different opinions!) The only similarities between the two are that in both cases the foot that makes contact with the brake pedal is the left foot. This is where the comparison starts and stops!

We think the Left Foot Braking Method (LFBM) does three important things and possibly in the future a fourth and fifth.

1It reduces the braking time by 3/4 of a second thus, for example, allowing a car travelling at 40 mph to stop in a distance which is 30 feet less than would be the case if the right foot was used to brake. In fact, we would argue that it is probably superior to the automatic braking systems being offered as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) on some of the latest cars.

2It eliminates Unintended Acceleration Pedal Error (UAPE). That's roughly 17,000 crashes in North America per year mostly in parking lots but an additional undocumented number on roadways.

3It eliminates speeding tickets just like the driverless car. Very little use of the gas pedal. Almost all driving done with the cruise control. (The new adaptive cruise controls are claimed to be the best).

4It would eventually remove the need for authorities to constantly keep reducing speed limits in areas such as school zones. This is because we feel that a scientific study will prove that LFBM drivers can for example, stop in a shorter distance at 35 mph than right foot braking drivers can from 30 mph.

5It would allow authorities to remove the now popular, 'No right turn on red' rule. This is because 3/4 of a second faster braking time would prevent right turn on red crashes.

For further information please click on the section of the website entitled "What is the Left Foot Braking Method?"

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this site is for information purposes only. It is not intended as an instruction document for the Left Foot Braking Method but instead is restricted to the above objectives.