Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Problems with Honda’s Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) led to a federal investigation initiated in February 2022. Now, in 2024, this investigation has been expanded and upgraded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), focusing on Honda Accord and Honda CR-V models from 2017-2022.

The expanded investigation covers nearly 3 million vehicles, specifically the 2017-2022 Honda CR-V and the 2018-2022 Honda Accord models.

Initially, the investigation targeted the 2017-2019 Honda CR-V and the 2018-2019 Honda Accord due Honda Collision Mitigation Braking System problems.

According to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) report, there have been 1,294 consumer complaints regarding unexpected activation of the automatic emergency braking system in these vehicles.

When accounting for duplicate reports from multiple sources, the data indicates 47 crashes and 93 injuries potentially linked to the so-called “phantom braking” problem.

Honda refers to its automatic emergency braking system as the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which is part of the broader Honda Sensing driver-safety technology suite.

This system is designed to prevent collisions by alerting drivers to potential obstacles and applying the brakes when necessary. However, many Honda drivers have reported sudden and unexpected braking, even when no obstacles are present.

Affected Honda Model Average Lemon Law Settlement
Honda Accord (2016-2022) $50,784
Honda CR-V (2016-2022) $41,760
Honda Insight (2019-2022) $45,407
Honda Passport (2016-2022) $68,466
Honda Pilot (2016-2022) $39,990

*Please note, the figures presented in the chart are approximations based on past case results and should not be interpreted as a prediction or guarantee. Each case is unique and requires personalized legal guidance.

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    Honda Sensing and CMBS Problems History

    Allegedly, Honda has known about problems in both their Collision Mitigation Braking System and Honda Sensing suite since November 2013, when it received a report of CMBS activation resulting in a rear-end accident.

    That same year, the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into AEB systems, concluding that they can indeed produce false safety alerts. This finding has contributed to several class-action lawsuits accusing Honda of knowingly selling vehicles with defects in the CMBS.

    In addition to Honda collision mitigation braking system problems, other driver-assist technologies in affected vehicles also routinely issue false safety alerts.

    Honda Sensing technologies include Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR).

    Drivers have regularly reported to NHTSA of concurrent issues in both Honda Sensing driver safety-assist technologies as well as Honda’s CMBS.

    One driver reported the following in their 2018 Honda CR-V, “The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 MPH with the Forward Collision Avoidance system activated, the vehicle independently stopped.

    The contact stated that the Lane Departure Assist feature was inoperable. The contact was informed to manually select Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control for the Collision Mitigation System to work properly.”

    It appears that drivers can have concurrent issues with both systems. These conditions can make driving incredibly unsafe, especially if vehicles issue false warnings or suddenly brake at highway speeds.

    In response to this ongoing problem, Honda has issued one recall to address braking system issues in 2015 but aside from that, little else has been done to address these concerns.

    2024 Honda Collision Mitigation System Investigation Update

    The NHTSA is currently investigating whether 3 million Honda vehicles are at risk of randomly activating their automatic emergency braking systems, even when no obstruction is present.

    In 2022, the agency examined 2018-19 Honda Accord and 2017-19 Honda CR-V models to determine the extent of unnecessary activations of the automatic emergency braking system, known as the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) by Honda.

    Now, the scope of the NHTSA’s investigation has expanded to cover 2,997,604 vehicles. This includes the 2020-2022 Honda Accord and CR-V models, in addition to the initial batch of vehicles.

    The ODI is currently conducting an “engineering analysis,” which moves us closer to a potential recall. While a full-scale recall campaign has not yet been initiated, it remains a possibility depending on the outcome of the analysis.

    Owners of 2017-2022 CR-V or 2018-2022 Accord models should stay informed about any updates in this investigation.

    The NHTSA reports that many Honda owners have complained that dealers were unable to reproduce the CMBS issues, with some customers being told by dealers that the condition was normal. Allegedly, inadvertent emergency braking has resulted in at least 47 crashes and 93 injuries.

    Does Honda have a Fix for Braking System problems?

    The automaker has attributed problems with Honda Sensing and the AEB system to the radars in affected vehicles. Honda has previously instructed dealers to re-position these radars. They redacted this explanation shortly after and told service providers that weather and other driving conditions will always affect Honda Sensing technologies. As of now, it appears that Honda has no fix.

    The following is a list of Honda models that may have CMBS problems:

    • Honda Accord (2016–2022)
    • Honda CR-V (2016–2022) (EX, EL and Touring)
    • Honda Insight (2019–2022)
    • Honda Passport (2016–2022)
    • Honda Pilot (2016–2022)

    Although these are the primary vehicles that regularly present braking system problems, other Honda vehicles may also be affected, including the Honda Civic, Insight, HR-V, Passport, Odyssey, and Ridgeline.

    For instance, there are multiple formal ratings to NHTSA that discuss braking system errors in Honda Civic vehicles from the same model years as those previously listed.

    One driver discussed an electric braking problem in their 2018 Honda Civic: “I was driving on a surface street going approximately 5 – 8 mph and I was 2-3 car lengths from the vehicle in front of me when my vehicle’s automatic emergency braking system engaged without warning, causing the car behind me to have to brake abruptly.”

    The main concern with defective automatic emergency braking systems is sudden braking, which is likely the result of either a software error or problems with automatic braking sensors on affected vehicles. There are other symptoms, however, that could indicate issues with the AEB system in certain Honda vehicles.

    These include:

    • Sudden deceleration
    • Jerking
    • Shuddering

    Multiple class-action lawsuits mention these issues along with random engagement of the braking system.

    Some Honda drivers also say that their vehicles will mistakenly detect opposing traffic, weather, shadows, and other roadway objects as pedestrians or other vehicles, while simultaneously failing to detect real nearby obstacles.

    Honda CR-V Problems

    Across model years 2016-2020, there are hundreds of complaints that mention problems with the forward collision warning system in Honda CR-V crossovers.

    In the following formal complaint to NHTSA, one driver spoke about how their 2017 Honda CR-V would suddenly brake in the same place on a highway, “I was lightly braking as I approached an intersection where I needed to turn right. There were no vehicles in front of me.

    The weather was clear and dry, about 70 degrees. As I slowed, the AEB system flashed ‘BRAKE’ several times, and then the car came to a sudden and complete stop.

    The same thing happened to this car at the same spot several months ago under the same circumstances — no other traffic ahead and good weather. There is a metal plate on the road ahead of where these incidents took place.”

    Honda Pilot Problems

    Several Honda vehicles display concurrent problems with both Honda Sensing and Honda’s CMBS, as this Honda Pilot driver noted in a formal report to NHTSA, “the contact owns a 2019 Honda Pilot.

    While driving various speeds, the front driver side brake sensor activated and [made a] warning beeping erroneously, which signaled the contact to brake. In addition, the brake sensor warning indicator illuminated.”

    Honda Accord Problems

    Some Honda owners and lessees say the collision warning systems in their vehicles activate due to minor surface changes on the road, as one 2018 Honda Accord driver notes to NHTSA, “My vehicle has activated the collision avoidance/emergency braking on numerous occasions for no reason…

    It generally happens when there are lines in the road, or a change in the color or the road surface. It happened again last week while I was traveling on US 301 near Maxville Fl.

    There is road resurfacing going on, therefore one lane is a lighter asphalt, and the other lane is dark. I was going about 60 mph, changed lanes, and the car slammed on the brakes and displayed the brake warning on the instrument panel.”

    If you have experienced similar concerning symptoms in your vehicle, it could qualify as a lemon. Honda vehicles with CMBS problems may or may not be included in one or several class-action lawsuits against the manufacturer.

    If you wish to pursue an individual lemon law claim, you should opt out of these class-action suits before their deadlines. An experienced lemon law attorney can assist you in this process.

    Should I opt-out of a Honda Collision Mitigation Braking System lawsuit?

    In recent years, Honda has faced multiple class-action lawsuits from drivers who claim that Honda’s CMBS malfunctions and increases the risk of accidents.

    These lawsuits allege that Honda continues to sell vehicles that brake abruptly without any apparent cause. Braking issues have unfortunately become common among relatively new Honda owners. The inadvertent activation of the CMBS can startle any driver, with nearly 2,900 reports potentially linked to CMBS problems.

    There are multiple lawsuits against Honda involving the issue, with the most recent being the sudden braking class-action lawsuit concerning 2019-2022 Honda Insight and 2019-2022 Honda Passport vehicles.

    This lawsuit alleges that these models are equipped with defective automatic emergency braking systems. The suit was filed shortly after the NHTSA opened an investigation into sudden braking in these models.

    The lawsuit contends that the CMBS, which uses a radar transmitter mounted in the front grille trim to detect obstacles, is prone to unintended braking.

    For instance, Massachusetts plaintiff Andrea Sivakova, who owns a 2021 Honda Passport Sport, has reported numerous instances of sudden, unintended braking.

    The suit claims that this issue poses a significant safety hazard, as the vehicles may brake unexpectedly, even in the absence of any obstacles.

    If you are part of the class-action lawsuit and are considering whether to opt out, it’s important to understand your options. By participating in the class action, you may receive a portion of any settlement or judgment, but you will also be bound by the terms of the settlement.

    Opting out allows you to pursue an individual lawsuit, which could potentially result in higher compensation if your case is strong. Consulting with an attorney experienced in lemon law and class-action litigation can help you make an informed decision based on your specific circumstances.

    If you own a Honda vehicle that you have had repeatedly repaired for CMBS or other braking issues, you may qualify for better options for relief under the California lemon law.

    Have Honda Braking Issues? Contact the Lemon Law Experts

    Shuddering, jerking, sudden braking, and false warnings are all indications that your Honda or other vehicle could be a lemon. A lemon is a vehicle that the manufacturer is unable to fix despite several repair attempts under warranty.

    If you suspect that this could be the case for your vehicle, you should consult with a reputable lemon law attorney who can inform you of your options and legal rights.

    Under the California lemon law, you may be entitled to a refund, a replacement vehicle, or cash compensation if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, along with coverage for your attorney’s fees and costs.

    A reputable lemon law firm will fight diligently in litigation to ensure that their clients become the prevailing party. When you win, the manufacturer is required to cover reasonable attorney fees and costs.

    Car manufacturers employ top-tier attorneys, making it difficult for individuals to secure what they deserve if they go at it alone.

    Honda’s legal team, for example, includes some of the best attorneys specializing in breach of warranty claims, many with decades of experience. With competition like that, you’ll need the best legal support at your side possible.

    If you purchased or leased your 2016-2022 Honda vehicle in California and you are experiencing problems with the braking system, the Lemon Law Experts can offer assistance.

    Our team has been representing consumers across the state of California against large auto manufacturers such as Honda since 2009. Our team of attorneys have recovered millions in refunds and cash settlements for California consumers.

    If you have any questions about your potential lemon law case, one of our Lemon Law Experts can assist you through a quick, no-obligation case evaluation. Get started by giving us a call or filling out an online form today.