No matter what type of automobile you drive – whether a car, truck, bus or even an RV – you can be sure that the brake lights behave the same across all vehicles. Brake lights help vehicles behind an automobile know that the automobile is slowing down or coming to a stop.
However, a new report discovered potential safety issues with the brake lights on certain electric vehicles (EVs).
According to Consumer Reports, regenerative braking (or “one-pedal driving”) modes allow EVs to quickly slow down and even stop without the driver applying any pressure on the brake pedal. While a convenient feature, Consumer Reports found through extensive testing that the brake lights on certain EVs do not illuminate as the vehicles rapidly decelerate thanks to regenerative braking. Any cars following these affected EVs may be unaware that the electric-powered automobile in front is slowing down, raising the chances of a rear-end collision.
Consumer Reports identified the following EVs as problematic, as their brake lights didn’t illuminate when their regenerative braking systems applied at least 0.1g of force:
- 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 SEL AWD
- 2023 Genesis GV60 Advanced
- 2023 Genesis Electrified GV70
- 2022 Kia EV6 Wind AWD
- 2023 Kia Niro EV Wind
The consumer advocate advised drivers of the affected EVs to stick to lower regenerative braking modes and avoid using stronger modes, where the feature would rapidly slow down the car without triggering the brake lights. The organization also warned drivers to lift their foot off the accelerator when slowing down to ensure the brake lights turn on.
What to do if you collide due to your EV’s unresponsive brake lights
Even if you’re careful about your EV’s regenerative braking feature, there’s still the risk of your car getting rear-ended by the vehicle behind you. Getting rear-ended causes significant damage to the rear of your car, and you can also suffer from injuries such as whiplash. Suppose you’ve confirmed the collision happened because your EV’s brake lights didn’t work as expected. In that case, you can hold the car manufacturer responsible for the damage and injuries you’ve suffered through a product liability lawsuit.
Under Washington state’s product liability laws, EV manufacturers can be held liable for unresponsive brake lights. However, the state has a time limit of three years from the accident date to file a claim.
If you plan to sue an EV manufacturer, consider hiring a lawyer. A lawyer can help prove that the vehicle didn’t meet reasonable expectations for safety and that the unresponsive brake lights led to damages and injuries.