Gas Pedal Error Accident in Torrance Injures 4 | Ellis Injury Law

Gas Pedal Error Accident in Torrance Injures 4

firefighter with car accident victim

May 6, 2016

Ellis Law Corporation


A car accident in Torrance injured as many as five people, reports CBS Los Angeles. An elderly woman who purportedly mistook the gas pedal for the brake slammed into a Planet Fitness Gym on Hawthorne Boulevard last Wednesday evening. Torrance police say the woman’s vehicle crashed through a glass wall at the entrance of the gym and didn’t stop for another 50 feet.

Patrons inside the gym told authorities the crash sounded like a loud explosion, as glass shards sprayed into the main workout area. One victim was pinned against a vending machine and three people who were doing abdominal exercises on the floor were run over by the vehicle. The elderly driver of the vehicle has not been identified, as police have only confirmed she is a Torrance resident, believed to be in her 70s. Miraculously, she did not sustain any serious injuries.

Driver hits gas pedal instead of brake

Torrance police Lieutenant Chris Roosen confirmed that three of the injured victims were transported to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. A fourth victim, who may have been an employee at Planet Fitness Gym, was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for treatment of severe injuries. Eyewitnesses believe that the man suffered several compound bone fractures when the vehicle ran him down.

It is not certain whether the elderly driver of the car was attempting to park in a handicapped spot when she accidentally hit the gas pedal, but she was not cited in the incident.   

Others who were working out but out of harm’s way rushed out of the gym, with some stopping to help out the injured. Paramedics on the scene say that while some of the injuries were critical, all of the victims are expected to recover.

Accidents caused by unintended acceleration

Elderly drivers and gas pedal accidents are not uncommon. While many of our seniors are still great drivers, some may not have the mental and physical acuity to safely maneuver a vehicle. A 2012 report issued by the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina captures the scope of these accidents in the U.S.

The report indicates that:

  • The majority of gas pedal accidents happen in parking garages, lots and driveways
  • Almost two-thirds of gas pedal accidents involve older female drivers
  • More common in drivers age 76 and older or under the age of 20

While drivers of any age can accidentally step on the gas pedal instead of the brake, statistics indicate that this is more prevalent in aged drivers whose executive functioning skills are not always in top form. The NHTSA says that every year some 16,000 preventable accidents are caused by pedal error when drivers mistake the gas pedal for the brake.

Recourse for victims of pedal error crashes

If you have been hurt in a car accident resulting from someone else’s pedal error, you may have a claim for compensation. Learn more about your options for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Los Angeles. Each personal injury attorney at Ellis Law offers free case reviews and can quickly determine if you have grounds for litigation. Call 310-641-3335 to learn more.