NHTSA Freightliner Phantom-Braking Probe

PORTLAND, Ore. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has opened an investigation into model-year 2017-2022 Freightliner Cascadia trucks equipped with automatic-emergency braking (AEB) which might exhibit phantom-braking characteristics.

The agency is reacting to 18 complaints from operators of the trucks, produced by Daimler Trucks North America, that their vehicles braked even though there was no obstacle in the way.

“The reports indicate the subject vehicle will apply the service brakes without warning or input from the driver. The applications range from momentary, partial application with little loss of speed to full application, which brings the vehicle to a complete stop in the travel lane,” the ODI Resume reported.

The resume went to outline steps taken by NHTSA during this Preliminary Evaluation of what could be a vehicle population in excess of 250,000 trucks, “the NHTSA Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) tested a Freightliner Cascadia AEB-equipped vehicle. During the “steel trench plate” scenario, the vehicle initiated hard braking when the plate was detected. DTNA stated that the steel trench plate was not representative of real-world driving.”

A similar claim of phantom braking has plagued certain Nissan and Tesla models resulting in lawsuits and recalls.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.