I just came across this from a November article in the Los Angeles Times.
Richard Schmidt, a former UCLA psychology professor and now an auto industry consultant specializing in human motor skills, said the problem almost always lies with drivers who step on the wrong pedal. “When the driver says they have their foot on the brake, they are just plain wrong,” Schmidt said. “The human motor system is not perfect, and it doesn’t always do what it is told.”
I don’t know why the concept of driver error seems to be so difficult for so many people. But perhaps there’s a parallel to the observation that while we all think driving while drunk is a horrible thing generally, we often have tremendous sympathy for an individual we know who is arrested for DUI. It’s because most of us suspect – or perhaps darned well know – that at one time or another we’ve driven when we were above the legal limit. But we feel we were nonetheless being extremely safe. Perhaps we don’t want to strip other drivers of their defenses.