— A Mazda "Smart Brake Support" lawsuit alleges the forward sensing cameras overheat and cause activation of the automatic emergency braking systems.
The class action lawsuit says 2018-2020 Mazda vehicles equipped with Smart City Brake Support or Smart Brake Support systems are included in the complaint.
According to the lawsuit, the vehicles contain i-ACTIVSENSE which includes safety technology to prevent and reduce collisions by using forward sensing cameras placed near the rearview mirrors.
The Smart City Brake Support and Smart Brake Support systems warn a driver of a potential collision by the use of warning sounds and warning messages on the display panel. The vehicle should allegedly detect if a collision is about to occur, and automatic emergency braking is activated if a collision cannot be avoided.
But the Smart Brake Support lawsuit alleges a vehicle suddenly slows down or stops because the forward camera overheats and falsely detects an imminent crash.
The plaintiff leased a 2019 Mazda3 in April and soon experienced problems with an overheated forward camera which activated the Smart Brake Support system. The plaintiff saw a warning light that said BRAKE, and within a few seconds the Mazda3 went from 40 mph to a complete stop.
The vehicle behind the Mazda3 allegedly stopped just in time to avoid a rear-end collision.
The plaintiff took the vehicle to a dealership and was told the computer suffered technical problems. The plaintiff alleges technicians said they could fix the problem by resetting the computer.
In September 2019, the forward sensing camera allegedly overheated again and activated the automatic braking system twice in 10 minutes. The plaintiff received a call from the dealer and was told to disable any security features or point the air conditioner vents at the camera to prevent it from overheating.
This would allegedly prevent activation of the Smart Brake Support system.
The plaintiff refused to drive the vehicle and the dealership provided a loaner car while contact was made with Mazda about the problem, but the plaintiff says the Mazda3 was eventually brought home.
The Smart Brake system allegedly activated again and convinced the plaintiff to take the vehicle back to the dealership. The dealer allegedly kept the vehicle for about a week before admitting the problem couldn't be replicated.
According to the plaintiff, Mazda issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) to dealerships in December 2018 concerning poor heat radiation performance with the forward sensing cameras.
The TSB says the “forward sensing camera stops functioning due to temporary high temperature,” and the instrument cluster display may issue warning messages such as “forward smart city brake support malfunction,” “smart brake system malfunction,” and “front camera sensor system malfunction.”
Mazda allegedly has done nothing to repair the braking problems even when the vehicles are under their warranties. The plaintiff also claims owners and lessees get stuck with out-of-pocket costs for diagnosis and repairs of the Smart Brake Support systems.
The Smart Brake Support lawsuit alleges a great safety risk occurs when the automatic emergency braking activates suddenly, leaving drivers unable to accelerate or maintain speed in traffic. In addition, the risk of being rear-ended increases drastically when the vehicle quickly slows down or comes to an abrupt halt.
The plaintiff says the owner's manual for the 2019 Mazda3 admits problems can occur to the forward sensing cameras due to high temperatures. The cameras are temporarily disabled and warning lights activate, including the "High Beam Control System warning indication/warning light (amber) and the i-Activsense warning indication/warning light."
However, the plaintiff says nothing in the manual warns the overheated camera can cause the vehicle to come to a sudden stop while driving.
The Mazda Smart Brake Support lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida - Miyares, et al., v. Mazda Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Podhurst Orseck.