Japanese motor vehicle manufacturer Honda has issued a voluntary safety recall of nearly 350,000 Odyssey minivans in the United States. According to the automobile maker, a defective sensor in models manufactured in 2007 and 2008 may cause hydraulic pressure to build in the braking system. When that pressure releases, the vehicles may brake without warning to the driver. In addition, the unexpected braking apparently fails to illuminate the car's brake light system. Consequently, not only do drivers of the affected minivans have no control over the braking pressure, but other motorists are apparently unaware that the vehicle may be slowing down.
Honda claims the safety issue has not yet resulted in any driver or passenger injuries. Still, consumers are reportedly concerned that the vehicles many believe were designed to transport families may pose a danger. Although the vehicle manufacturer has plans to install a new sensor in affected minivans, the parts required are not expected to be available for several months. Honda has advised minivan owners to start their vehicle with the wheels facing straight ahead until the new sensors are available to consumers. Additionally, a representative for Honda stated that a tap or pump to the brake pedal should stop any unexpected self-braking. Drivers are also advised to restart the vehicle's engine if an Odyssey minivan begins to stop on its own.
Earlier this year, Honda recalled other vehicle models manufactured by the company for allegedly unrelated brake issues. The current recall was purportedly issued in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation that was launched following at least 22 consumer complaints. According to the NHTSA, the issue is troubling because an affected vehicle's speed may drop quickly by up to 30 miles per hour.