Gas Pedal Syndrome

What is Gas Pedal Syndrome?
Is it a Disease?
Is it a Chemical Imbalance?
Is it caused by alzheimer's?
Is it just an Excuse?
Perhaps a design flaw?
You decide!

Gas Pedal Syndrome:

   I have noticed for years the frequency of
something I call, "Gas Pedal Syndrome."
What is it?  Well, its a common frequency of
accidents caused by someone thinking they are
hitting the brake pedal but actually stomping
on the gas pedal.

   I am going to start posting all the
articles I find relating to this syndrome and
see what turns up as the common denominator in
all of them.  I have a suspicion, but I think
I will leave it up to the reader to make up
his/her own mind on the subject.  Please read
the articles. You can leave comments, or
directions to stories that relate, or even
stories of your own.  Let me know.

   What kind of test would be able to show the
inclination to this problem?  Is it genetic?
Can a DNA expert in a court of law say:
"here on this sequence we find that the
defendant has the gene for Gas Pedal Syndrome,
therefore he is innocent."

   Once someone has been proven to have Gas Pedal
Syndrome should they still be able to drive?
What kind of legislation would be needed to stop
someone with it from driving?

   The one thing to remember when you open the door
to your car, step inside, situate yourself behind
the wheel and turn on the ignition, given the right

              THIS CAR COULD KILL!

   The thing is that I feel a lot of people forget
the fact that driving a car is a major
responsibility.  Your tooling around in a minimumly
2000 pound hunk of metal with something that can
propel it from 0-60 in how many seconds?  That's
a 1 ton piece of force that if thrown against a
100 pound person its obvious who will win.

   How many stop signs are missed everyday?
How many seconds can be shaved off time getting
to work just by pulling out in front of that car

   Slow down, think about what your doing and
remember where the brake pedal is.  Practice a
few times before taking off.

These are mostly compliations of articles I run across while reading the papers. You're welcome to forward any articles, info, or comments to me via the
Article 1:
Woman, 76, killed by car on Cape
A 76-year-old woman was killed yesterday when she was run over by a car pulling into a parking space in Hyannis, police said. Janet Schroeder, of Yarmouthport, was walking in the parking lot of the Bradlees store near Route 132 around 3 p.m. when a car driven by Albina Marchi, 84, also of Yarmouthport, struck her, police said. Police believe Marchi stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, causing her to hit Schroeder. Marchi was charged with motor vehicle homicide and driving to endanger.
Boston Globe, Wed, Nov. 5, 1997 --- New England News Briefs, P. B6
Article 2:
Chelsea woman killed in crash
A chelsea woman who was drving a van without wearing seatbelts died in a rollover accident in Saugus yesterday morning while her five teenage passengers, all belted in, survived with minor injuries. State Police Sgt. Barbara Bennett identified the woman as Ofelia Martinez, 51. Bennet said that police believe "speed was a factor" in the accident at 7:25 a.m. on Route 1 near the Route 99 exit. Bennett said that Martinez was driving about 70 miles an hour. The posted speed limit in the area is 45 miles an hour. A helicopter evacuated the victims. Martinez died at about 8:30 a.m. in Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
Boston Globe, Wed, Nov. 5, 1997 --- New England News Briefs, P. B6

Gas Pedal Syndrome? Hmmmmm
Article 3:
Cellular phone call eyed in fatal crash
WEYMOUTH - A Hingham man was killed in a one-car accident early yesterday that police said may have been caused when he was talking on a cellular telephone while he was driving

William C. Gean, 52, was traveling east on Route 3A about 1:25am when the car hit a pole near the Fore River Bridge in Weymouth, police said.

Police said Gean, who was alone in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Weymouth Police said there is no indication that speeding or alcohol contributed to the accident, but they believe he had been talking on the cell phone with his wife before the car hit the pole.
Boston Globe, Saturday, Nov. 8, 1997 --- P. B2

Gas Pedal Syndrome? Well lack of attention!
Article 4:
Driver is killed on R.I. highway
NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. - A Providence woman was killed driving the wrong way on a North Smithfield Highway, police said. Crystal Jackson, 36, was traveling south in the northbound lane of Route 146A when she lost control and struck a guard rail about midnight Thursday. (AP)
Boston Globe, Sunday, Nov. 16, 1997 ---

How do people do this? Read Next One
Article 5:
Truck in wrong lane hits car, killing 3 in Fall River
FALL RIVER - A head on colision Sunday left three people dead and two injured in a three-vehicle crash on Route 24, State Police said.

Troopers said a pickup truck headed the wrong way in the southbound lane and ran head-on into a car, which spun around and collided with the rear of another car. The accident happened at 8:30pm south of Airport Road.

The driver of the truck and the driver and one of the three passengers in the car it hit were killed. The other two passengers in that car were injured. Troopers said the driver of the third car was not injured.

The pickkup truck driver killed was identified as William McIntosh, 49 of Assonet.

Troopers said the driver of the car hit by the truck was Gregory Souza, 19, of Fall River. Killed with him was his passenger, Diana Cruz, 15, of Tiverton, R.I.

Roy Rego, 17, of Tiverton, R.I., suffered head injuries and a broken arm, and was taken to Charlton Mmeorial Hospital, troopers said. The other passenger injured, Nelia Silvia, 16, of Fall River, was flown to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical center in Boston.

Rego's condition was not available yesterday, because his parents did not give permission for it to be released, according to a hospital official.

Silva was in the intensive care unit at the Boston hospital. No further information was available on Silva's condition.

Seth Viveiros, 23, of Fall River, who was driving the third car, was not injured, troopers said. (A.P.)
Boston Globe, Tuesday, December 16, 1997 --- P. B7

Why are they always heading southbound?

Cause of accident? Alleged Drunken Driving reported via friend of one victim. Does anyone have a courtcase docket number or followup story for this?

Article 6:
4-year-old listed fair after crash on Auten
Casey Hazlep, 4, of the 1900 block of South Olive Street, was in fair condition Friday in St. Joseph's Medical Center with injuries suffered early Thursday morning in a traffic accident at Auten Road and Portage Avenue.

According to St. Joseph County police reports, Casey's mother, Patty Beuley, 27, was driving west on Auten about 1:15 a.m. when she drove through the stop sign and ran into some trees at the end of the road.

Auten dead-ends at the intersection with Portage.
South Bend Tribune, Saturday, Dec. 6, 1997 --- P. A8

But Ociffer, the trees jumped out in front of me.
Article 7:
1 driver listed fair after six-vehicle crash
Frank S. Kovack, 76, of the 1000 block of Bell Road, Niles, was listed in fair condition tuesday evening at St. Joseph's Medical Center after being injured in a six vehicle accident shortly after 1 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Cleveland and Ironwood roads.

According to St. Joseph County Police Department reports, Kovack was southbound on Ironwood, trying to make a left turn onto Cleveland, when he drove into the path of a car driven by Rose Marie Kromkowski, 69, of the 26700 block of Oakleaf Cove. Kromkowski was westbound on Cleveland.

Michael T. Rhodes, 35, of the 600 block of Coronation Gardens, was in the northbound lane of Ironwood stopped at the light when his truck was hit by Kovack's car.

Kovack's car then hit a car driven by Pearline Elizabeth Mays, 63, of the 700 block of Colfax, Benton Harbor. Mays was stopped in traffic in the eastbound lane of Cleveland.

Ed Elm III, 27, of the 200 block of East Eighth Street, Mishawaka, was also in the eastbound lane when his vehicle was struck by Kovack's car.

Elm tried to back up to avoid the accident and his car bumped a vehicle driven by Kara A. Masueci, 22, of Palatine, Ill.

Kromkowski and Elm were both released after treatment at the medical center.
South Bend Tribune H, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1997 --- P. B2

Right Of Way? Ever heard of that Frank?
Article 8:
Elkhart: Woman in serious condition
ELKHART - An Elkart woman was hospitalized in serious condition after a car-truck accident Monday morning.

Police said Donald Richards, 32 of 26741 Ray Drive, was driving south on North Nappanee Street, when a car driven by Marian Robinson pulled out of a restaurant driveway headed east. Police said the impact occurred south of the intersection of Nappanee Street and West Beardsley Avenue at 8:46 a.m.

Robinson, 78, of 28769 C.R. 12, had to be extricated from the passenger's side of her car by the Elkhart Fire Department, due to the extensive damage to the driver's side. She was taken to Elkhart General Hospital where she was admitted to the intensive care unit in serious condition.

Robinson told police she could not remember what happened. Richards told police he could not stop in time to avoid the collision.
The Elkhart Truth, approx, Dec. 1, 1997 ---

Again with the right of way!
Article 9:
QUINCY -- A disabled man has died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car outside a bakery last week. John P. McGonigle, 45, died Saturday, three days after he was hit by a car driven by 81-year-old Frank McGinniss. McGinniss said the gas pedal became stuck as he was backing his Geo Prizm into a parking space. McGonigle was thrown from his wheelchair into O'Brien's Bakery, his family members told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy. The accident is under investigation, police said.
The Boston Globe, 12/02/97.
Article 10:
A Warren, R.I., man died yesterday when the car he was in struck a building in Boston's North End, police said. Francisco J. Gonzales, 39, was apparently preparing to get out of the stopped car to switch drivers when his passenger, whose name was not released, yelled, ``the car is moving,'' police said. The passenger said Gonzales then hit the gas pedal, thinking it was the brake, and the car crashed into a building on Atlantic Avenue.
The Boston Globe, 06/01/97.
Article 11:
WICHITA, Kan. -- A woman who allowed her 10-year-old son to back the family car down the driveway stumbled while directing the boy and was fatally run down when he stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake. The 28-year-old accident victim died at the scene Friday. Her name was withheld by authorities. The boy was unhurt. Witnesses said the woman's son and a friend wanted to play basketball in the driveway, but the car was in the way. The boy at first resisted his mother's wish that he move the car,
The Boston Globe,05/25/97. SOURCE: (AP)
Article 12:
An 86-year-old man accidentally drove his car into a Yarmouth beauty parlor yesterday morning, injuring three people, police said. About 10:30 a.m., police were called to the Mr. Roberts beauty parlor on Route 28. Witnesses said the driver began to back out of a parking spot in front of the salon. His wife was in the passenger seat, police said.
The Boston Globe, 04/26/96. SOURCE: By Kim Lyons
Article 13:
BERLIN, N.H. -- Police are investigating the death of Charles Glover, 72, whose van caught fire in his driveway. Glover got into his van Tuesday afternoon and apparently became unconscious, police said. His foot jammed on the gas pedal and caused the catalytic converter to overheat and catch fire. Two passersby pulled him out before the van was engulfed in flames.
The Boston Globe,01/05/95. SOURCE: (AP)
Article 14:
NASHUA -- A Maryland man faces drunken driving charges after a midnight accident in which an injured passenger was rescued from a car before it caught fire. The car went out of control at about 12:30 a.m. yesterday after a passenger put his foot on the gas pedal, causing the car to run off the road into some trees, police said.
The Boston Globe,05/12/93. SOURCE: (AP)
Article 15:
EAST WINDSOR, Conn. -- The driver of a car that plowed into a crowd and injured 10 people at an automobile auction said the car went out of control after its gas pedal froze at full throttle."It happened so fast I didn't have time to think," said Edward Clark,62, an auction employee who was driving the car.
The Boston Globe, 09/13/91.
Article 16:
A State Police trooper suffered cuts and sprains last night after he was dragged by a car along Route 3 in Braintree by a man having a seizure. The man awoke and hit the gas pedal when the officer tried to revive him.

Trooper Jay Staples was ticketing two motorcycle riders for allegedly riding in the breakdown lane near the Union Street intersection at about 5:45 p.m. when he saw a car in the center southbound lane stopping and starting a few feet at a time.
The Boston Globe,05/27/87. SOURCE: By Alex Rothenberg, Contributing Reporter

Go Check This Out!
Store Front Accident!
Article 17:
Goffstown, N.H. - A 40-year old Goffstown woman died in an accident at a supermarket parking lot. Cynthia Whalon was walking to her car at Shaw's Supermarket Tuesday when she was hit by a car. Her 13-year-old son, Matthew, was seriously injured. The car that struck her then hit six parked cars. Police said the driver, Mary Downey, 89 of Goffstown, lost control of her car, but they do not know why. (AP)
The Boston Globe,01/29/99. Page B5 SOURCE: AP wire

Interesting Story:
From Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana residents age 75 and older will no longer have to take a driving test to renew their drivers licenses, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles said Wednesday.

The agency said it suspended the more then 25 year old requirement because it lacked clear authority to enforce it.

"In researching the problems the bureau was encountering with drive test scheduling, we discovered that there is no clear-cut authority to mandate drivers in a particular age group to take a drive test," BMV Commissioner Gary A. Gibson said in a statement.

The growing number of older Hoosiers has strained the bureau's ability to administer the tests, leading to waits of up to three months in northwest Indiana and a host of complaints, BMV spokesman Alvin Hayes said.

Ninety-five percent of the older drivers who have taken the test have passed, showing that age is not a good way to predict whether a driver is impaired. Hayes said.

He said the bureau will consult with insurance agencies and advocacy groups for seniors before deciding how to replace the tests. Bringing them back remains an option, he said.

In the meantime, the angency will continue to test individuals whose abilitiy to drive has been called into question, Hayes said.

A recent analysis of accidents by traffic researchers showed that drivers aged 70 and over and teen-agers have the highest accident rates per mile driven. The study also found many older drivers avoid nighttime driving, high-speed roads and other situations which might straining their abilities.

The Indianapolis Star, 12/03/98. Page B4 SOURCE: AP wire

Opposing Viewpoint?
CONCORD, N.H. - The woman in charge of issuing driver's licenses for the state says elderly drivers should be tested more often. Virginia Beecher, director of the Division of Motor Vehicles, said a tragedy in a supermarket parking lot this week highlights the need for closer scrutiny. An 89-year-old driver struck six cars and two people, killing a 40-year-old woman and seriously injuring her son on Tuesday. Drivers over 75 should be tested every year or two, instead of every four, Beecher said. (AP)
The Boston Globe, 1/30/99. Page B6 SOURCE: AP wire
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Generally: Boston Globe
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