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Automatic brake malfunctions caused 82 car accidents across Japan in 2017: transport ministry

Kyodo

A total of 82 car accidents reported in Japan last year were triggered by automatic brake malfunctions, the transportation ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry, which compiled such data for the first time, said one of the accidents was fatal, adding that there were 340 reports of automatic brake problems in 2017.

Of the 340 reported problems, 88 concerned automatic braking systems not working properly and 249 involved the systems activating unexpectedly, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

Japan has pushed for passenger cars to be equipped with automatic braking systems to curb accidents. But the data suggests that they do not yet function perfectly in terms of traffic safety.

The systems were installed on 66.2 percent of passenger cars produced in 2016, up from 4.3 percent in 2012, according to the ministry.

Automatic brakes use a radar system to detect and monitor vehicles and other objects ahead, and can alert the driver to the danger of a collision before the brakes are applied automatically.

The ministry released a video in April to warn drivers that the braking systems do not always function appropriately, and that they have technical limitations under certain conditions — including when it is raining and dark, or when the vehicle is traveling at high speeds.

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