NHTSA investigates 1.7 million Honda vehicles over phantom braking complaint

  • Honda Accord and CR-V models under investigation

  • Second NHTSA investigation into phantom braking announced this week


US safety regulators are examining nearly 2 million Honda vehicles after reports of unintended activation of the automatic emergency braking feature. The probe affects 2018 and 2019 Honda Accord sedans and 2017-2019 CR-V crossovers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Defect Investigation Bureau says (via Automotive News) that it has received a total of 278 complaints alleging “inadvertent activation of the collision avoidance brake system.” That’s 107 Accords and 171 CR-Vs.

“The complaints allege braking incidents, some with large shifts, occurring with nothing obstructing the vehicle’s path,” said an NHTSA document released today.

Six of the complaints claim that a collision with minor injuries resulted from braking events. A complaint said that “twice in the past six months, while driving on our rural road to our neighborhood, the car flashed the ‘brake’ sign on the dash and applied the brakes. After pressing the brake pedal, the car resumed its normal speed. The road was clear, with no obstacles, no cars in front or cars [from] coming the other way.

The safety probe does not mean a recall. At this point, NHTSA investigators are asking the manufacturer for information that includes complaints, reported injuries, and even warranty claims involving the affected components. From there, based on NHTSA’s findings, if there is a safety-related defect, a recall request can be sent to the manufacturer, triggering a recall and resolution of the issue.

NHTSA announced earlier this week that it is also investigating 400,000 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles after receiving 354 complaints from drivers of those vehicles that also involved unexpected operation of automatic emergency braking functions.

About Mohammed B. Hale

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