A proposed class action lawsuit alleges certain 2017-2019 Nissan vehicles are equipped with defective forward emergency braking or automatic emergency braking systems that can engage without warning, exposing drivers and passengers to the risk of “sudden and unexpected collision.”
According to the 30-page complaint out of Tennessee, Nissan’s forward emergency braking/automatic emergency braking technology relies on radar to anticipate the possibility of a collision with vehicles or pedestrians. The suit states that when the technology works as intended, the system will give the driver audible and visual warnings and apply an emergency brake to cause a vehicle to decelerate and come to a stop should the driver fail to respond.
The lawsuit charges, however, that despite Nissan first offering emergency braking technology in the 2015 model year and the automaker’s efforts to appear “at the forefront of emerging autonomous driving technology,” Nissan’s emergency braking system is simply not road ready. Although emergency braking became a standard feature for a number of the defendants’ vehicles starting with the 2018 model year—namely in the Rogue, Rogue Sport, Murano, Altima, Maxima, Armada, Pathfinder, Leaf and Sentra models—the technology is prone to engage suddenly and unexpectedly when no collision is imminent and when the driver has no intention of stopping their vehicle, according to the complaint. The suit alleges that as a result of the defect, drivers of class vehicles have experienced sudden braking episodes “on railroad tracks, on bridges, in intersections, and other driving situations,” posing the risk of side-on or rear-end collisions.
Nissan knew of the supposed emergency braking system defect prior to its sale or lease of class vehicles, the suit claims, citing consumer complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation. Despite possessing knowledge of the issue, Nissan, the case claims, “failed to disclose and actively concealed” the emergency braking system defect from proposed class members while continuing to market and advertise vehicles equipped with the technology.
“Nissan sold hundreds of thousands of Class Vehicles despite knowing that the Emergency Braking System engages suddenly and unexpectedly, posing a safety hazard to Plaintiff, the other Class members, and others sharing the road with Class Vehicles,” the suit reads.
The case argues that proposed class members would not have purchased or would have paid less for their vehicles had they known of the reported emergency braking system defect.