Center for Auto Safety Calls on NHTSA to Investigate Malfunctioning Automatic Emergency Braking System on 2017-2018 Nissan Rogue Vehicles 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 21, 2019
Contact: Grace Garver, (202) 328-7700, ggarver@autosafety.org

Center for Auto Safety Calls on NHTSA to Investigate Malfunctioning Automatic Emergency Braking System on 2017-2018 Nissan Rogue Vehicles 

Today, the Center for Auto Safety (“the Center”) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a safety defect investigation into false activation of the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system that is placing Rogue owners and other road users in danger.  There have been at least 87 consumer complaints of unintended braking after activation of Nissan’s AEB, yet in violation of federal law Nissan has attempted to address the defect as a service matter rather than a safety problem.

The Center, founded in 1970, is a member-supported, independent, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy.

All of the complaints found in NHTSA’s database indicate that the AEB engaged when no obstruction was posing a threat to the path of the vehicle. Many complaints indicate that the braking is abrupt or forceful, endangering both the Rogue occupants and people in nearby vehicles, who are forced to avoid a collision with a suddenly stopped vehicle.  Over 400,000 Nissan Rogues were sold in both 2017 and 2018. 

“When automatic emergency braking works it is an important technological achievement in vehicle safety.” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. “However, when it performs erratically and suddenly stops the car for no reason, it endangers both the car’s occupants and any following cars that may crash into the unexpectedly stopped vehicle.  Just as dangerous, this defect is causing some owners to manually turn off the braking feature when they start their car, eliminating its potential safety benefits.  Nissan has issued a service bulletin because it knows it has a problem.  The time has come for either Nissan, or NHTSA, to be sure that everyone who owns a Nissan Rogue knows about it as well.”

Nissan has attempted to address this defect of unintended braking by issuing a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to dealers, but with no impetus or guarantee that owners are notified of a safety hazard or provided an opportunity to have the condition repaired.  Moreover, by attempting to avoid a recall, the services currently being offered to Nissan owners are only covered under their warranty for a limited time, instead of the much more robust consumer protection available under a recall.

Today, the Center is petitioning NHTSA to conduct a formal investigation and make a determination that the defective Rogue automatic emergency braking system presents an unreasonable risk to safety – which would result in all Rogue owners being provided notification of, and given the opportunity to receive, Nissan’s existing repair for this problem. Every week brings more instances of these dangerous emergency braking failures to light. Based on the number of complaints and the large numbers of Rogues on the road, it is reasonable to conclude that this defect may unnecessarily cause fatalities or serious injuries—if it has not done so already.  

The Center for Auto Safety petitioned NHTSA on January 13, 2016 to not only mandate AEB technology on every new vehicle, but to write a performance standard against which such technology – and advertising claims about the performance of such technology – could be measured.  A petition which was denied.  “The ability of correctly performing safety technology to save lives is unquestionable,” Levine said.  “What remains unanswered is why there is no standard to determine success by each individual manufacturer, or why NHTSA continues to allow this technology to be sold as a luxury instead of a necessity.”

A few examples of the complaints the Center found in NHTSA’s files:

2018 Nissan Rogue – NHTSA ID No. 11089960 – Westbury, NY
The emergency braking engages without reason.  This has led to 2 near misses. Once the car just stopped in the road.  I thought it might have misinterpreted a snow pile.  Then, driving over a train crossing, the car just stopped.  Luckily I was able to get it moving before a train came.  Very scary!  When I called the service department, they were not very concerned.  They thought there would be a software fix in a few weeks and I should just shut off the emergency braking feature until then!  I paid extra for this feature that is most likely going to get me in an accident!!!  Crazy!!  I believe a recall is needed asap before someone gets killed.

2017 Nissan Rogue – NHTSA ID No. 11186903 – Gross Pointe Park, MI
While the vehicle was in motion on both city streets and interstate highways the automatic emergency brake (AEB) has activated when there wasn’t any traffic or obstacles present. At one time on the highway it almost caused an accident due to sudden and abrupt unneeded braking slowing the car unexpectedly nearly causing cars behind me to run into me. This vehicle behavior has occurred multiple times.

2018 Nissan Rogue – NHTSA ID No. 11185890 – Minnetonka, MN
The automatic emergency brake system engages when there is a clear road and no obstructions in front of or around the vehicle whatsoever. The most recent incident happened while the car was in motion on a highway going 45-50 mph – the AEB system deployed and the car fully engaged the brakes in an attempt to stop. This was on an open road with no other vehicles or obstructions in the road or even in my direct line of sight. there are many others who seem to have reported this issue to their dealer’s service dept. and have been told there is nothing wrong with the sensors. I live where ice is common – had this happened even traveling at a slower pace in bad road conditions, I could have spun out, slid into other traffic, into the ditch, etc. this is an extremely dangerous situation…it’s a rear-end collision or even worse accident just waiting to happen.

2018 Nissan Rogue – NHTSA ID No. 11123321 – Manassas, VA
Forward emergency braking system engages while approaching a metal roadway surface and comes to a complete and abrupt stop. The roadway is a driveway on a private property. This vehicle is equipped with a safety system designed to prevent collisions with objects ahead, but engages when there is no object in front. The dealership has been aware of this issue since July 5, 2018 and the manufacturer has been aware since July 26, 2018. In several instances, motorist traveling behind were unexpectedly surprised and forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid collision.

Petitions of this type to NHTSA require a formal response within 120 days. In the meantime, the Center will continue to work to inform the public of the risk these vehicles present and the need for Nissan to recall and repair affected Rogues as quickly as possible.

Read the Center’s petition to NHTSA to investigate the above listed vehicles here

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Over the last 49 years, the Center for Auto Safety has successfully led the fight for lemon laws in every state, airbags in every vehicle, and recall repairs being made at no cost to the consumer. The Center is a membership-driven organization headquartered in Washington, DC and is also home to the Safe Climate Campaign which fights global warming by working for big, specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Center publishes TheCarBook.com, which has for the last 39 years been America’s most comprehensive car buying guide and now offers, exclusively for members, the monthly Safety Tune-Up Report, for regular alerts on safety issues relating to their cars. To learn more about the Center, please visit www.AutoSafety.org.

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