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US NHTSA upgrades probe into braking issues in 3 million Honda vehicles

FILE PHOTO: Bangkok International Motor Show

(Reuters) -The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Wednesday it had upgraded its probe into reports of unexpected activation of automatic emergency braking systems in around 3 million Honda Motor vehicles to an engineering analysis.

An engineering analysis is a mandatory requirement before the auto safety regulator can potentially demand a recall. The probe includes the Japanese automaker's popular Accord sedans and CR-V crossover SUVs.

The NHTSA said it had received 2,876 consumer complaints, and reports of 93 injury incidents and 47 crashes involving Honda cars with unique vehicle identification numbers that may be related to the issue.

The regulator had opened a preliminary evaluation into about 1.7 million Honda vehicles in February 2022 to assess claims that the automatic emergency braking system activated with no apparent obstruction in the vehicle's path.

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While the preliminary evaluation covered 2017-2019 Honda CR-V and 2018-2019 Honda Accord vehicles, the NHTSA has expanded the probe to include 2020-2022 models of the Honda CR-V and Accord vehicles as well.

Honda told Reuters in an emailed statement that it will continue to cooperate with the investigation.

Honda's Autonomous Emergency Braking works by using a radar and camera, and applies strong braking pressure if the accident becomes unavoidable, but gives drivers visual and audible alerts before kicking in.

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia and Chandni Shah in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nathan Gomes and Pritam Biswas; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Tasim Zahid)