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Mazda suspends dealership test drives showcasing Smart City Brake Support after injury accident

Mazda is suspending all test drives intended to showcase the accident avoidance features of Smart City Brake Support until the cause of an accident with injuries in Japan involving the technology has been established and countermeasures taken.

On 10 November, there was an accident causing injury to a customer and a dealership employee during a test drive event to demonstrate safety features using a Mazda CX-5. The demonstration was organized and held by a company called Sakata Jidosha Kogyo, which runs three Mazda Autozam dealerships in Japan’s Saitama prefecture.

Sakata Jidosha Kogyo was holding a test drive event to demonstrate Mazda’s safety feature, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS). During the event, a Mazda CX-5 equipped with SCBS collided with a fence while a customer was in the vehicle. The two occupants were injured; a customer who suffered whiplash and an employee of the Mazda Autozam dealership who suffered a broken arm.

Mazda expressed its sympathy, prays for the prompt recovery of the customer and employee injured in the accident, and extended its apologies for causing concern to customers and other interested parties.

Details of the accident are currently being investigated by the police. Mazda is ready to assist the police with the investigation to determine the cause of the accident as soon as possible and together with Sakata Jidosha Kogyo implement preventive measures to avoid reoccurrence of similar accidents.

Smart City Brake Support uses a near-infrared laser to detect the vehicle in front and supports braking depending on the driver’s actions. A number of factors can stop the system from operating as expected, and for this reason Mazda instructs all dealerships throughout Japan to carry out safety feature demonstration test drives only under a strict set of conditions which define elements such as the size, type and distance of the obstacle, surrounding environment, vehicle speed and driver actions.

Mazda said that the circumstances and causes of this accident, including whether or not the demonstration test drive event held by Sakata Jidosha Kogyo followed Mazda’s guidelines, will be revealed by the ongoing police investigation. Both Mazda and Sakata Jidosha Kogyo are fully cooperating with the police investigation to understand the causes of the accident as soon as possible so that countermeasures to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future can be implemented.

Mazda said that to date it has received no reports of accidents occurring on public roads due to a malfunction of the Smart City Brake Support system.

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