NHTSA Investigating Honda CRV and Accord Crashes Linked to Inadvertent Automatic Braking

Nearly 60 reports of injuries have been linked to auto accidents that may have been caused by Honda CRV and Accord vehicles automatically braking unexpectedly.

Federal traffic safety officials have launched an investigation into complaints that the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system in certain Honda CR-V and Accord vehicles may activate unexpectedly, increasing the risk of an auto accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) announced the Honda automatic braking investigation on April 14, indicating it began looking into the problem following hundreds of reports of unintended activation of the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which is part of the AEB. The reports indicate the system unexpectedly engaged while the vehicles were in motion, even when there was no visible obstacle ahead, leading to abrupt vehicle deceleration.

AEB systems use advanced radar and camera based sensor technology to detect when a crash with a pedestrian, cyclist, or another vehicle is imminent. The systems then apply the brakes before a driver has done so, or supplement driver braking force, to reduce or lessen the impact of a collision.

The advanced braking systems are effective at up to 62 miles an hour, and are designed to recognize and avoid pedestrians, cyclists and other objects, even at night. However, if the automatic braking activates unexpectedly or when not needing, it may actually increase the risk of a crash.

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Honda Automatic Emergency Braking Problems

Honda indicates it analyzed the problem and suggested some drivers may not fully understand the capabilities and limitations of the CMBS. However, many owner complaints claim that Honda dealerships either couldn’t replicate the problem or stated that it falls within the expected operation of the CMBS, contradicting Honda’s analysis.

The investigation involves model year 2020-2022 Honda CR-V and Accord vehicles.

To date, ODI indicates it has received 1,294 consumer complaints regarding inadvertent braking in certain Honda CR-V vehicles from 2017 to 2022 and Honda Accord vehicles from 2018 to 2022. Among these, 31 complaints involved an auto accident, with 58 injuries reported.

While the manufacturer reported even more accidents and injuries than ODI, some of those may have involved duplicate reports. No deaths have been linked to the unexpected braking problem.

ODI indicates it is currently conducting a thorough examination of the problem and has moved into an engineering analysis phase of the investigation. This analysis aims to further determine the extent of the problem, how often it happens, and the potential safety risks.

Nearly 3 million vehicles could be affected by the problem, according to ODI. No recalls involving the problem have yet been announced.

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