Beasley Allen lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Nissan Motor Co. on behalf of several plaintiffs who allege the Forward Emergency Braking System (FEB System) in certain Nissan and Infiniti vehicles malfunctions, posing a safety hazard and diminishing the value of their vehicles. According to the proposed class action, one or more defects in the FEB System, also called the Automatic Emergency Braking System, can cause the affected vehicles to falsely engage or otherwise not work as intended.

The FEB System uses radar technology to gauge the vehicle’s proximity to the vehicles ahead. The system gives the driver audible and visual warnings to brake when it detects an unsafe distance between the vehicles. If the driver fails to respond, the FEB system can apply the brakes and help the driver avoid a collision or diminish the impact if a crash is unavoidable.

However, in more than a dozen 2015 or newer Nissan and Infiniti model cars and SUVS, the FEB system detects non-existent obstacles, the plaintiffs allege. These false detections trigger the brakes and cause the vehicles to slow down or stop unnecessarily. Some of the plaintiffs say unexpected slowing down or braking has happened to them in a spectrum of circumstances, including while driving on highways at high speeds.

In some circumstances, the FEB system has deactivated itself for no reason, rendering it useless and distracting the driver. Subsequently, the system is “an unpredictable and unreasonable safety hazard” rather than the safety feature drivers expect, the lawsuit alleges.

A recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found that while some driver-assistance technology packages enhance vehicle safety and help drivers avoid collisions, other systems raise questions about their safety and effectiveness.

“As manufacturers race to introduce autonomous driving and braking technologies, they hurry through the development and testing phases,” said Beasley Allen lawyer Clay Barnett. “Because of this and ill-conceived cost-savings measures, we are seeing defects show up in the field.”

The proposed class action alleges that Nissan continues to ignore consumer complaints, warranty data, dealership orders, pre-production testing, and other warnings pointing to a defect in its FEB system. Subsequently, the automaker has failed to recall the class vehicles or offer a suitable repair or compensation for incurred costs related to the problem, the plaintiffs allege.

The plaintiffs request a jury trial and seek damages for out-of-pocket expenses related to the alleged defect; costs for future repairs or replacements; the diminished value of the vehicles; and the premium cost of the FEB feature.

The vehicles affected by the alleged defect include, but are not limited to, the 2015 or newer Nissan Rogue, Nissan Rogue Sport, Nissan Murano, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Sentra.

The case is In re Nissan North America, Inc. Litigation (M.D. TN). Co-counsel includes Bursor & Fisher, P.A., Bailey Glasser, LLP, Dicello Levitt Gutzler, LLC and Schlanger Law Group, LLP.

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