Fiat Chrysler Recall Heightens Awareness of Stuck Accelerator Protocol

On May 25, 2018, Fiat Chrysler announced the recall of 4.8 million U.S. vehicles as a result of a defect preventing drivers from disabling the cruise control function on their automobiles. This issue puts drivers and passengers at risk of hazardous situations where they could find themselves traveling uncontrollably at dangerously high speeds.

In light of this development, the IAED™ is reminding all emergency dispatchers to carefully review the Stuck Accelerator Protocol. The IAED released the Accelerator Stuck & Can’t Stop Vehicle Protocol in March 2010 as a manual pull-out card in PDF format, and subsequently in the MPDS software (ProQA®). The manual version Protocol is available for all emergency call centers to use, even those agencies that don’t use the MPDS®, PPDS®, or FPDS®, under a special, limited-use license.

As Dr. Clawson teaches regarding the critical time-wasting effort of asking the caller in these cases about their exact location, “We already know their location: They are approaching the crash site at a high rate of speed!”

For licensed ProQA users, the protocol is available anytime the ProQA screen is open, including at the start of Case Entry. This is important since in certain cases the caller, in a runaway vehicle, will need to receive instructions to stop the vehicle before a reliable address or location is determined for a response.

The Accelerator Stuck & Can’t Stop Vehicle Protocol is applicable to all vehicle makes and models, including manual and automatic transmission varieties. The Protocol instructs the emergency dispatcher to tell the caller to shift the vehicle to neutral, turn off the engine, and slow and stop the vehicle. The emergency dispatcher will also give safety instructions once the driver has successfully stopped the vehicle.

While stuck accelerator cases are very infrequent, they pose an imminent threat to the safety and potential survival of the vehicle’s occupants, as well as nearby vehicle occupants and pedestrians. Since the introduction of the Stuck Accelerator Protocol in 2010, the IAED has identified several documented cases where the Protocol was used successfully to assist the driver to control and stop a runaway vehicle and prevent serious injury or death.

We urge communication center managers and supervisors to direct all their IAED-certified staff to re-familiarize themselves with this Protocol. For more information, please use the processes and requirements found on the IAED website.