Nissan Rogue sensors gone rogue: Drivers say sensors cause sudden stops

CHICAGO -- Drivers have sounded the alarm about new auto technology designed to prevent crashes on the road that they say is actually creating a danger, causing their cars to stop unexpectedly.

Todd Burrows, a 2017 Nissan Rogue owner, says the very electronic feature that is supposed to help protect him is actually a safety hazard.

"The car just slammed that emergency brake," he said. "It's happened to me three times -- and that's three too many times."

Burrows says he's uncomfortable letting his wife and two small children in the car since his experiences with it coming to a screeching halt.

"Then boom, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was going 35 mph just stopped me basically dead," he said.

Burrows says those sudden stops, triggered by the car's sensors, are happening for no reason. Twenty-seventeen and 2018 Nissan Rogues 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. The system can apply the automatic emergency braking system to avoid an accident.

"The emergency sensors on the side of the car started lighting up, so I immediately look and there were no other cars," Burrows said.

The I-Team found 145 documented complaints, as of July 4, filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of 2017 and 2018 Nissan Rogues suddenly stopping in traffic. Those complaints may or may not include duplicates.

"My fear was if I was on the highway going 70-80 miles an hour," Burrows said.

He brought his car to his dealership, Berman Nissan. They said they couldn't pinpoint the sensor problem and performed an update.

"This remedy has proven effective in resolving the issue the customer experienced," the dealership told the I-Team.

But Burrows says the problem persists.

Then, Burrows says, Nissan offered him a model with fewer upgrades and Burrows rejected it.

After his dispute, Burrows says he received a Nissan "customer service initiative" telling him 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."

"It's dangerous if the false trigger happens then someone behind you could end up crashing into you because there is no reason," said Jason Levine, with the Center for Auto Safety.

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

"It should be a recall," Levine said. "At the end of the day it's going to cause people either crashes and potentially injuries that should be avoided if they just fixed all the Nissan rogues."

Since April, NHTSA has been investigating the potential stopping problem in 675,000 Nissan Rogue vehicles from 2017 and 2018.

Nissan declined an interview and told the I-Team their "case resolution team has reviewed and declined his (Burrows) repurchase request" and they haven't heard from him since "Dec. 2018." Burrows disputes this and says he is not getting the fix suggested in the "initiative letter" because he has no faith in the vehicle.

"I want Nissan to buy this back from me. It's not safe," he said.

A 2018 class action suit filed in Los Angeles claims that Nissan concealed these same sensor problems in numerous models.

Nissan wouldn't comment to the I-Team about the class action suit but, in court filings to dismiss the case, stated the plaintiffs failed to state particular circumstances of fraud and failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

NHTSA's investigation is ongoing. Visit NHTSA's website to file a report.

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