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Safety Group Calls on Feds to Investigate Unintended Braking Incidents in Nissan SUVs

Car Mechanic Examining Brake Disc

Nissan recently announced its “field actions” concerning a software update that is supposed to improve the performance of its automated braking system. The update comes following a petition filed by the Center for Auto Safety that called for an investigation into claims that certain Nissan SVUs had a defect in their auto emergency braking systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims to have received nearly 90 consumers reports linked to problems with Nissan’s braking system. According to the claims, the braking systems engage without having an obstruction in its path.

The Center for Auto Safety’s petition filed with the NHTSA alleges that Nissan was aware of the problems with its braking system but failed to take appropriate action. The center came to this conclusion based on the fact that Nissan issued a Technical Service Bulletin and launched two Quality Actions. The company also initiated a Customer Service Initiative linked to the issue. Though Nissan took action to inform customers of the problem, according to the Center for Auto Safety, the company did not offer any adequate long-term solutions.

Nissan Rogue SUVs Perform Erratically

The braking issue affects approximately 675,000 Nissan Rogue SUVs manufactured in 2017 and 2018. According to the Associated Press, Nissan alerted all affected customers to the software update that supposedly corrected the problem.

The emergency braking systems utilized cameras, sensors, and radar to determine whether a vehicle needs to slow, stop, or take another action if the drivers fail to do so. Estimates are that by 2022, nearly all new cars in the United States will feature this type of emergency braking system as part of a standard equipment package.

Automatic Braking Systems Improve Vehicle Safety When Functioning Properly

According to Jason Levine, executive director from the Center for Auto Safety, automatic emergency braking systems are important technological achievements and play a significant role in vehicle safety – when they work properly. When these systems perform erratically, as they have in the Nissan SUVs, occupants of the vehicle and any vehicles in the area around the malfunctioning vehicle are adversely affected.

Levine also notes that because of the defect, some owners have even turned off the auto braking feature, thus eliminating any potential benefits.

As a result of the Center for Auto Safety’s petition, the NHTSA will investigate the issue and determine if a recall or any additional action is needed to deal with the problem. Nissan has stated that it will continue to work with authorities in the United States and Canady until the issue is resolved.

NHTSA Offers Alert System for Specific Vehicles

The NHTSA has created a search feature that allows vehicle owners to determine if their vehicle has been affected by the issue by using their vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN), a 17 digit number that can be found inside the driver’s side windshield or on the inside of the driver’s side door, or under the steering wheel. The agency also issues alerts for specific vehicles and consumers can sign up to be notified via email if anything is issued for their vehicle.

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