Detroit – US auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that automatic emergency braking systems in more than 1.7 million newer Hondas can stop vehicles without cause.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 278 complaints that the problem could occur in 2017 with 2019 CR-V SUVs and 2018 and 2019 Accord sedan. The agency announced the investigation into documents published Thursday on its website.
In some cases, owners have complained of unexpected speed reductions that may cause an increased vulnerability to rear-end collisions. Agency documents say that unintended braking can occur without warning and at random.
In six cases, owners told the agency that the problem caused a collision with minor injuries.
The agency says it is opening an investigation to determine how many vehicles were affected and how bad the problem was. Investigation can lead to a summons.
Honda said in a statement it was cooperating with the investigation and continuing its own review. The company said that consumers who encounter any problems should contact their dealer.
Among those who complained was a Honda owner in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who told the dealership that his 2018 CR-V came to a complete stop in November 2019. “While driving on a highway without cars or obstacles, it stopped in front of me, the car braking hard automatically,” the owner wrote. . “He came to a complete stop on the highway, which led me to the back end.”
The owner, who was not identified in the complaint, reported that two people were injured.
The Honda Probe is the second investigation into automated braking systems that NHTSA has opened in the past week. On February 17, the agency began investigating reports of similar malfunctions in about 416,000 Tesla after it received 354 complaints that vehicles could stop for no reason.
The vehicles are equipped with partially automatic driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and “autopilot,” which allow them to brake and steer automatically within their lanes.
There were no reports of accidents or injuries.
Automatic emergency braking systems have great potential to save lives. They can stop collisions or slow vehicles if drivers are obstructed or not paying attention when something is in the way. But they can also interact with shadows, bridges, or other objects that appear to be obstructions.
Systems are becoming more widespread. In 2016, 20 automakers covering most of the industry agreed to make automatic emergency braking a voluntary standard on nearly all of their new cars by September 1, 2022.
The systems help prevent or reduce collisions by applying brake pressure to the driver. The systems use cameras, radar and other sensors to know when a collision is imminent. They warn drivers not to use the brakes, and automatically brake vehicles if the driver does not act fast enough.
Last December Consumer Reports found that more than a dozen major automakers had equipped all of their 2021 cars with the technology.
NHTSA has also begun the regulatory process to order systems for both heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles.
The move to order electronic systems and investigations comes as the government tries to stem a trend of increasing deaths on highways. During the first nine months of 2021, an estimated 31,720 people were killed on the nation’s highways, maintaining a record pace of increasingly dangerous driving during the coronavirus pandemic.
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