McGehee, D., Roe, C., Ng Boyle, L., Wu, Y. et al., "The Wagging Foot of Uncertainty: Data Collection and Reduction Methods for Examining Foot Pedal Behavior in Naturalistic Driving," SAE Int. J. Trans. Safety 4(2):289-294, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-1526.
Pedal misapplications may be rare, but the outcomes can be tragic. A naturalistic driving study with 30 drivers was conducted to gain a better understanding of foot pedal behaviors. Foot movements were observed from the moment subjects entered and positioned themselves in their vehicle, and continued through starting the ignition, shifting into gear, accelerating to driving speed, and finally, resting their foot after parking the vehicle. A coding methodology was developed to categorize the various foot movements and behaviors. Over 3,300 startup and parking sequences were coded. This paper describes the unique challenges involved in classifying foot movements and behaviors when drivers’ intentions are not known. For example, hesitant or interrupted foot movements often occurred when a driver was transitioning from a gas pedal press to a brake pedal press. Such behaviors required definitions beyond what might be typically considered a “pedal error” (e.g., pressing the wrong pedal, or pressing both pedals simultaneously). Over 650 back-pedal hooks (foot catching the underside or side of the brake pedal when transitioning from accelerator), incorrect trajectories, uncertain foot wags, misses, slips, and other behaviors were observed. Understanding such foot movements and behaviors provides insight into how pedal misapplications can occur-and how they might be mitigated in the future.