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Automatic Emergency Braking Problems Lead to Mazda3 Recall Impacting 35,000 Vehicles

More than 35,000 Mazda vehicles are being recalled due to potential problems with automatic emergency braking, where a software defect may cause the system to unexpectedly engage, increasing the risk of an accident or crash.

The Mazda3 recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on December 31, after the manufacturer determined that the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system may falsely detect obstacles while in motion, which could activate the brakes and suddenly stop the vehicle.

The impacted vehicles are equipped with AEB technology, which is designed to prevent collisions in which the driver does not react fast enough or does not apply sufficient braking power to avoid or mitigate a crash. The braking systems use multiple on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras, as well as lasers, to detect potential crash threats.

According to the recall notice, if the systems’ sensors identify false obstacles, the braking system could unexpectedly engage to bring the vehicle to a sudden stop, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision from a following vehicle.

Mazda first learned of the issue in May 2019, after receiving a Canadian field report involving an unexpected AEB engagement. Mazda and its software supplier, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan, opened an investigation and determined an incorrect programming of the Smart Braking System (SBS) was the root cause of the inadvertent brake activations.

Due to the increased risk of a crash or loss of control of the vehicle, Mazda concluded a safety recall was necessary.

The recall includes approximately 35,390 model year 2019 through 2020 Mazda and Mazda3 vehicles manufactured by Mazda North American Operations from September 25, 2018 through October 23, 2019.

Mazda warns owners that if they hear a warning alarm sound and notice a warning message displayed on the instrument cluster behind the wheel, the AEB system could be engaging.

Mazda announced it will begin notifying owners of the recall and will provide instructions on how to schedule a free repair appointment at their local dealer, who will be instructed to update the SBS software and an instrument cluster software update.

Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall are being asked to contact Mazda customer service at 1-888-222-5500 and reference the recall campaign number 42I9L.

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