The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a problem with Honda’s emergency braking system. The problem could affect more than 1.7 million cars from Honda, which have started acting like some Teslas by braking without warning and without obstructions in their path. The NHTSA investigation claims that there are 278 complaints, and six of these resulted in minor injuries.
The problem traces to the “collision mitigation braking systems” in the 2017-2019 Honda CR-V and in the 2018-2019 Honda Accord. The CR-Vs accounted for a higher number of the reported complaints (171) than the Accords (107,) but the problem still involves both models and could ultimately implicate an estimated 1,732,000 Hondas, according to NHTSA.
That’s a lot of Hondas and comes much too soon after what should’ve been happy Honda Days. More to the point, the scary part is this traces to the emergency braking system. Presumably, this system is a failsafe meant to help drivers avoid collisions, not cause them. Because the braking system is activating inadvertently and unprompted, the Hondas could be in danger of rear-end collisions.
The Department of Transportation along with NHTSA had announced just last month that new rules in its safety initiative, the NRSS, would make emergency braking systems a requirement in new cars. Honda and Acura had already been installing the crash-avoidance tech in more than 95 percent of vehicles produced from 2020 through 2021, according to Automotive News. It seemed like Honda and Acura were ahead of the curve, but even if this investigation covers older models, it’s still not good.
To be clear, this is not a recall yet. The investigation is in its early stages, having begun on Monday of this week, per AN. During the early phases, NHTSA engineers request information from Honda, like complaints or injury and warranty claims.
Honda could issue a recall depending on what it finds and presents to NHTSA. But if the carmaker doesn’t, and NHTSA’s investigation determines there is a safety-related defect, then it will send Honda a recall request. As always, you can periodically check up on your car with the VIN Search Tool on NHTSA’s site, or just use the app.