WASHINGTON, D.C. – The “phantom braking” syndrome has spread to Honda, making it the third automotive marketer in the United States to face questions about its vehicles’ automatic-emergency braking (AEB) systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Feb. 21st opened a preliminary evaluation of certain model-year 2017-2019 CRV crossovers and 2018-2019 Accord sedans following 278 complaints to the agency.

NHTSA earlier opened an evaluation of certain Tesla vehicles for similar issues and Nissan was recently named in a class-action lawsuit over its vehicles allegedly exhibiting this characteristic.

According to NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation ODI Resume, “The complaints allege braking incidents, some with large speed changes, occurring with nothing obstructing the vehicle’s path of travel. Of the 278 complaints [171 CRV, 107 Accord], 6 allege a collision with minor injuries.

“ODI is opening this Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential safety-related issues.”

The two models in question represent a potential vehicle population of approximately 1,732,000.

Generally, NHTSA investigations begin as preliminary evaluations. The agency will assess the severity of the situation and decide the next steps, which could range from no further action warranted to a full-scale investigation. Again, depending upon conclusion of the inquiry, a recall notice could result.

During recent years, manufacturers have been steadily adding AEB to their vehicles, incorporating it into a variety of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous-driving systems (AV).

NHTSA has reached out to the automakers to have them install AEB in 95 percent of the vehicles they sell by 2024. Honda, and its Acura luxury brand, is one of 12 manufacturers which have already met NHTSA’s request.