Consumer Alert: Nissan drivers raise questions about collision sensor safety

Posted: Updated:

It’s technology that’s supposed to help drivers avoid accidents, but some Nissan owners say their collision sensors are so sensitive that their cars sometimes wind up applying the brakes for no reason.

Aliya Robinson says her 2018 Nissan Sentra was just 3 months old the first time she had a problem with her collision-avoidance system.

"The car went from 50 to 0 in a matter of three seconds," she says. "The car abruptly stopped, and thank God there was nobody close enough."

Robinson isn't alone. Dozens of Nissan drivers have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that their collision-avoidance systems can cause their cars to try to stop on their own -- sometimes triggered by little more than leaves blown by the wind.

"They’re detecting shadows or hanging street signs, or a low-hanging traffic light and that’s making the system malfunction," says Robinson's attorney, Jacqueline Herritt of the law firm Kimmel and Silverman. Herritt represents several Nissan owners.

"People are driving down highways and the brakes are slamming on for no reason," Herritt says.

Nissan says it won’t comment on Robinson's specific case, but says anyone with concerns about their collision sensors should take their car to a dealership for a free evaluation.

Late last year, the federal government also began looking into certain Nissan sensors to see if more action, such as a recall, might be necessary.  

In the meantime, Robinson is trying to get Nissan to buy her car back from her under the lemon law.

"I don’t want to be in this car anymore. It’s really dangerous and it’s not safe for my family," she says.

Lemon laws are on the books in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They kick in if a new car has repeated problems that can’t be repaired. They’re good for up to two years or 24,000 miles in New Jersey and Connecticut, or two years and 18,000 miles in New York.

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