Government safety organization investigating Nissan Rogue emergency braking problems

Chicago (WLS) -- A national safety organization has opened an investigation into a problem with Nissan Rogue safety technology that the I-Team reported on in July.

"The car just slammed that emergency brake. Boom, it hit me like a ton of bricks," said Todd Burrows, who alerted the I-Team about problems with his 2017 Nissan Rogue. Burrows said the very electronic feature that is supposed to help protect him made his car stop unexpectedly, causing him to panic.

"This is great safety technology when it works but dangerous when it doesn't," said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

Nissan Rogues manufactured in 2017 and 2018 have sensors that use radar to detect other vehicles approaching. The technology is supposed to prevent accidents by alerting the driver that a car is dangerously close and can apply the automatic emergency braking system to avoid an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a "preliminary evaluation" into whether some Rogues should officially be recalled. According to a Sept. 9 NHTSA memo, the agency collected 843 complaints about the issue. Twelve complaints allege a crash resulted from the activation of the system, and there were claims of four injuries.

Nissan sent out a "customer service initiative" letter earlier this year, telling Burrows and other Rogue owners that the automatic emergency braking system can be updated at a dealership because in "rare instances and unique roadway environments ... the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system in some vehicles may activate braking when it is not needed."

Levine said the NHTSA's investigation should have two aims:

1) To see if affected cars should be recalled
2) To make sure that the fix offered to owners actually works

The Center for Auto Safety says it's received similar sensor complaints about the Rogue and other brands of vehicles and petitioned NHTSA to issue an official recall for the Rogues in question.

"There are about 550,000 so we think Nissan and NHTSA should move quickly," Levine said.

Nissan told the I-Team it's "... committed to the safety and security of our customers and their passengers. Nissan has investigated this issue extensively and, in consultation with NHTSA, launched field actions notifying affected customers of a software update that improves (MY17-18 Rogue AEB/FEB) system performance..."

The free update can be done at authorized Nissan dealerships. Nissan says it will continue to work with NHTSA on product safety.

Burrows has since traded in his Nissan Rogue for a different make of car.

If you think you have a car with this sensor issues and you have not gotten a letter to make a fix, you should call your dealership and manufacturer.

You can also visit NHTSA's website to file a report.
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