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NHTSA investigates Honda CR-V for braking issue


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating complaints about the emergency braking system unexpectedly activating in some 2017-2019 Honda CR-Vs. The investigation by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is looking into nearly 300 claims, 171 are from CR-V owners, and 118 are from Honda Accord owners.

The ODI complaint file reads: “Inadvertent or unexpected activation of the automatic emergency braking system may cause rapid vehicle deceleration which increases risk of a collision.”

As this investigation is ongoing, there is no recall issued yet.

“Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, and we will continue our own internal review of the available information,” said Honda spokesperson Chris Martin in an Automotive News story about the investigation.

Collision mitigation braking system failure in Honda CR-V

The official dossier on these complaints reads: “The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received a total of 278 complaints (107 Honda Accord; 171 Honda CRV) and several Early Warning Reports alleging inadvertent activation of the collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) in 2017-2019MY Honda CR-V and 2018-2019MY Honda Accord vehicles. The complaints allege braking incidents, some with large speed changes, occurring with nothing obstructing the vehicle’s path of travel. Of the 278 complaints, 6 allege a collision with minor injuries.”

Furthermore, ODI is opening a Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential safety-related issues. In the two-page document, the report shows the potential for these CR-Vs to be rear ended. The document further shows, “Inadvertent or unexpected braking activation while driving can cause unexpected speed reductions that can lead to increased vulnerability to rear end impact collisions. The complaints allege that the inadvertent braking events occur without warning and randomly.”

Could a recall follow?

The PE portion of the ODI report could lead to further investigation. If the NHTSA investigation deems there is some kind of safety defect in these vehicles they could move to the next stop which would be a notice for Recall. This is coordinated through the NHTSA office, but also with the manufacturer.

Since Honda’s statement shows they are aware of the ODI report, there would likely be cooperation regarding a future recall, should one be deemed necessary. Until then, there’s nothing official.

2017-19 Honda CR-V recall history

According to carcomplaints.com, the CR-V has very few complaints and recalls. For the 2017-19 model year, the Honda CR-V has three current recalls including a fuel pump issue that can cause an engine stall while driving, This recall impacts more than 620,000 vehicles. There’s also two separate recalls related to the air bag system.

The 2017 Honda CR-V has a recall that impacts more than 32,000 vehicles. It’s related to the fuel pipe, which could become disconnected and cause the engine to stall.

The bottom line on this Honda CR-V braking issue

Mitigated emergency braking systems will become standard for all vehicles by the year 2024 as mandated by the Federal Government. They are meant to be additional safety features employing advanced automotive technology. When they work, they’re great, but as you can see, there are still a few bugs to work out.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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