Accelerator on the right, brake on the left.
Currently, if you look at any car on the road, they all have the same pedal configuration, so we think that it is natural.
Is there any reason for this pedal placement? I investigated to try to answer this simple question.
Is it decided by law and the automobile industry?
In order to manufacture and sell vehicles that can use public roads in Japan, manufacturers have to conform to the "road safety standards of road transportation vehicles" established by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan.
I investigated, to see if any rules about pedal placement are contained here.
Information about the accelerator and brakes is found in Article 10 "Pilot Control Device".
I read this from start to finish, but there was nothing mentioned anywhere about the accelerator needing to be on the right, or brakes on the left.
The only thing written was the following: "Devices (accelerator, brake, clutch) that need to be operated while driving the car must be located within 500mm of the center of the steering wheel, and must be easy for the driver to operate in a fixed position."
So, I concluded that car makers must have met, and agreed to locate the pedals where we currently find them, but there was no such arrangement.
This lack of rules in regards to pedal configuration is not limited to Japan. All countries are the same.
This just happened naturally
Looking at the history of automobiles, the position of the accelerator and brake pedals has always been this way.
It seems that the five “Cars of the Century”, from the 20th century were the beginning of the tradition of having the accelerator on the right and the brake on the left.
We will describe the arrangement of each of the five pedals sequentially from the right.
- Ford model T (right: brake, middle: reverse (reverse), left: clutch & transmission)
- Rover mini (right: accelerator, middle: brake, left: clutch)
- Citroen DS (right: accelerator, middle: brake, left: parking brake)
- Volkswagen type 1 (right: accelerator, middle: brake, left clutch)
- Porsche 911 (right: accelerator, middle: brake, left clutch)
Since the accelerator of the Ford Model T was a lever operation on the right side of the steering wheel, there was no accelerator pedal.
Citroen DS did not have a clutch pedal because it was semi-automatic, very rare in its day.
Apart from the above two exceptions, the remaining three units have the same pedal arrangement, Right is the accelerator, and left is the brake.
This layout is now considered to be the standard of current cars.
In all vehicles the right is not necessarily the accelerator and the left is not necessarily the brake
There are some vehicles that do not have the accelerator on the right and the brake on the left.
For example, Honda makes a driving assistance device for people with disabilities, that enables operation of both accelerator and brake with only the left foot.
There are welfare vehicles that make it possible for people with impaired mobility to drive both accelerator and brake by hand.
To make it possible for people with limited mobility in their right leg, or those with limited mobility in both legs to be able to drive, it is necessary to have vehicles that are not "accelerator on the right, brake on the left".
If the configuration of the accelerator and brake pedals was decided by law, these vehicles would be treated as illegal and would not be able to exist.
For this reason, I think that the specific arrangement of the pedals has not been decided by law.