The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into 1.7 million Honda models this week. The agency is seeking complaints about the brand’s automatic emergency braking system that activates inadvertently while the vehicle is moving. According to NHTSA, this problem can cause rapid deceleration and increase the risk of a collision.
NHTSA has received 278 complaints regarding the 2018-2019 Honda Accord and 2017-2019 Honda CR-V. The investigation may affect approximately 1,732,000 vehicles. The complaint indicates the accidental or unexpected activation of Honda’s collision mitigation braking system when nothing is blocking the vehicle’s path of travel. The complaint to NHTSA also noted that braking occurred without warning and at random. Of these complaints, six of them are suspected of having resulted in a collision in which the passenger suffered minor injuries.
The automatic emergency braking system is designed to apply the brakes to the driver if the car’s various sensors detect an imminent collision. These systems can help drivers avoid collisions altogether or greatly reduce their severity. However, even the best technology isn’t perfect, and sensors can make false detections without a hitch. The system is also becoming more widespread in the industry, with some automakers equipping new vehicles with the technology as standard.
The NHTSA Disability Investigation Office opens an “Initial Evaluation” to determine the scope and severity of potential problems. Honda is working together with investigation. The extent of this problem is unclear, which could affect more models than NHTSA has investigated as each vehicle is different in its design. When safety technology fails to operate, it’s one thing, but sporadic operations are an entirely different beast. NHTSA did not provide a timeline for when it would complete its investigation. We will be aware of any recalls made by Honda regarding the matter.