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U.S. investigating brake problem with some Honda Odysseys

The Honda 2014 Odyssey minivan is displayed during the New York International Auto Show in New York, March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The Honda 2014 Odyssey minivan is displayed during the New York International Auto Show in New York, March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a potential braking issue with Honda Motor Co's <7267.T> Honda Odyssey minivans that could cause them to brake without the driver touching the brake pedal.

Earlier this week, the vehicle safety arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation said it was opening an investigation of the issue, which could affect nearly 344,000 vans from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

According to a report on the administration's website, the agency has received 22 complaints alleging incidents of unexpected braking, including some complaints in which the car suddenly brakes by itself while the driver is accelerating, causing the car speed to quickly fall by as much as 30 miles per hour.

So far, there have not been any crashes or injuries attributed to the problems, which appear to be related to the car's vehicle stability assist system, a safety feature that automatically applies the brakes on sharp turns or when the car is accelerating on loose or slippery surfaces.

A Honda spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

In March, Honda recalled nearly 250,000 vehicles globally due to similar braking problems. In the United States, the recalls affected the Acura RL sedan, Acura MDX crossover SUV and the Honda Pilot SUV, but in Japan, the recall included the Legend sedan and three types of minivans, including the Odyssey.

Most of those vehicles were made between 2004 and 2005.

As with the current issues seen in the Odyssey, the issue involved the vehicle stability assist system, which in some cases could malfunction and apply the brake even when the driver was not pressing the brake pedal.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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