NHTSA Investigating 250,000 Hondas Over Unintended Auto Emergency Braking

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched an investigation into certain Honda Insights and Passports following several complaints of phantom braking incidents. The organization is currently seeking more information regarding possible unintended activation of the brakes.

The investigation, launched March 7, focuses on Insights and Passports built from 2019 through 2022. A document from the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) states that 46 complaints have been received regarding the system, alleging the brakes were applied unexpectedly with no clear obstruction to set them off. Of those instances, three resulted in either a crash or fire, and two resulted in reported injuries. The document lists an estimate of 250,712 vehicles as part of the investigation.

It’s important to note that this is not a recall, but a preliminary investigation into a potential problem. A Honda spokesperson provided the following comment when contacted by Motor1:

“Honda is committed to safety. We are aware that the NHTSA has initiated a Preliminary Evaluation, their first level of investigation, regarding a limited number of consumer reports of inadvertent activation of the Automatic Emergency Braking system. Honda has already been in communication with the agency on this topic and will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, while continuing our own internal review of the available information.”

Beyond unintended activation of the brakes, other parameters such as speeds, locations, or whether cruise control was active are unknown. Additionally, there’s no information as to why the Passport and Insight are singled out versus other Honda models equipped with automatic emergency braking. If more information becomes available, we’ll jump in with an update.

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The current-generation Passport returned to North America for the 2019 model year. Sales for the SUV peaked at 53,133 units in 2021 falling to 41,306 in 2022. The Insight wasn’t quite as popular. Only 19,431 were sold in 2021, its most successful year. It was from Honda’s US lineup after 2022, ending with 7,628 sales that year. Meanwhile, the Passport is still out and about with a new model currently in development.