US government takes Tesla autopilot investigation to the next level

Washington, D.C. – June 19, 2022 – The U.S. government auto safety regulator took their investigation of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) collisions with emergency vehicles to the next level.

This investigation may result in a Tesla recall, which may affect an estimated 830,000 vehicles, including: 

  • 2018 – 2021 Tesla Model 3
  • 2014 – 2021 Tesla Model S
  • 2015 –2021 Tesla Model X
  • 2020 – 2021 Tesla Model Y

Investigation summary  

The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened the preliminary investigation on August 13, 2021, following a total of 14 Tesla crashes with first responders.

In each event, the electric car, driving autonomously on the autopilot, would crash into a first-responder vehicle, which had stopped on the road to assist on a previous, unrelated accident. These accidents resulted in at least one fatality and several injuries. 

On June 8, 2022, the investigation was upgraded to the so-called engineering analysis. The upgrade means that NHTSA will dig deeper into the issues to understand if the potential safety defect that exists in connections with these collisions warrants a recall.

Why is the investigation being upgraded?

The investigation is now being upgraded on the back of the analysis of other crashes involving Telsa autopilots “not limited to first responder scenes”, as well as the discovery of additional crashes with first responder and “road maintenance” vehicles.

During this leg of the investigation,  NHTSA will continue to evaluate this crash data, examine a larger subset of Tesla vehicles and will focus on “driver behavior and associated system performance.” 

The goal is to determine if Teslas’ methods of ensuring drivers’ constant attention while the vehicle is on autopilot are sufficient.  The vehicles currently use 12 sensors and eight cameras to monitor the road but do not have anything that is ensuring that the driver is keeping their eyes on the road, as reported.

What has been found so far?

Between the time the original investigation was open and this next stage, the regulator discovered 16 additional first responder crashes and found that drivers were warned of the impending collision by the vehicle Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system “immediately prior to impact.”  Despite having their hands on the steering wheel and being able to see the first responder – at least in theory – around 8 seconds in advance, drivers did nothing to prevent the crash.

For more background on the investigation, please visit this article about the first stage of the investigation.


Collisions with civilian vehicles are one of the major causes of first responder deaths and are unfortunately becoming more widespread given the level of driver distraction and the fact that cars are soundproof. In addition to that, the drivers that collide with emergency vehicles – especially fire trucks – are also at a high risk of an injury because the size of the former.

Safety tips

To minimize distraction on the road, keep multitasking  – such as playing with the radio or car controls, listening to loud music, consuming food or beverages – to a minimum. If you see flashing lights behind you or come across an emergency scene, slow down and move over to give first responders space to work and protect them and yourself.

Other Tesla recalls 

Just recently, there was a Tesla software recall, which rectified the issue of vehicles’ failure to warn the pedestrians about their approach. In addition, there was a Tesla Model S recall in November 2021, caused by sudden and unwanted braking.  

Is your vehicle part of a recall?

This investigation may eventually lead to a Tesla autopilot recall, possibly affecting over 800,000 vehicles. To do a Tesla model recall check for your vehicle, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Bojan PopicUS government takes Tesla autopilot investigation to the next level

Tesla recalls cars that don’t stop at stop signs

Palo Alto, CA – February 6, 2022 – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is recalling 53,822 electric vehicles with beta software that intentionally allows cars to come to a “rolling stop” at a stop sign, an illegal driving maneuver that also ups the risk of an accident.

The recall affects  the following models :

  • 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3
  • 2016-2022 Tesla Model S
  • 2016-2022 Tesla Model X
  • 2020-2022 Tesla Model Y

Recall summary  

Do Teslas stop at stop signs? Not always. 

At the center of this recall is the problematic “rolling stop” feature in Tesla’s self-driving beta software that allows a car to roll through a stop sign at speeds up to 5.6 miles per hour without coming to a complete halt. 

The cars are programmed to not come to a complete stop only if certain conditions are met. This includes the absence of “relevant moving cars,” pedestrians or cyclists near the intersection.

However, according to the Associated Press (AP), there are no states where a rolling stop is legal.

The recall is limited to cars with “full self-driving software,” which is currently in beta.

Recall risks

According to the recall report Tesla submitted to the auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “entering an all-way-stop intersection without coming to a complete stop may increase the risk of collision.” 

Other Tesla safety concerns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun to crack down on Tesla’s safety practices, and has recently launched investigations over distracting game features and failures of its Tesla autopilot feature.

The repair

Tesla will stream an over-the-air (OTA) software update to the affected Teslas early this month that will disable the rolling stop feature. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 53,000 vehicles are included in this Tesla recall. Is your car part of a Tesla Model X recall, Tesla Model S recall or Tesla Model Y recall? Run a Tesla recall check using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandTesla recalls cars that don’t stop at stop signs

US government investigates Tesla autopilot crashes

Washington, D.C. – August 19, 2021 – A United States auto safety regulator has opened an investigation into Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) autopilot feature over concerns that it may not stop cars from crashing into parked emergency vehicles. Collisions with civilian vehicles represent one of the leading causes of death for first responders and this investigation was opened on the back of 17 injuries and one death.

The investigation could implicate 765,000 vehicles and covers the majority of Tesla models that have been made in the U.S., including:

  • 2017 – 2021 Model 3 sedans
  • 2014 – 2021 Model S sedans
  • 2015 – 2021 Model X SUVs
  • 2019 – 2021 Model Y compact SUVs


On August 13, the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened an investigation based on 11 reports of Tesla cars crashing into first responders’ vehicles parked at emergency scenes on the road.  

All the Teslas involved were using autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) features when they crashed and most crashes occurred at night.

The Teslas, which use eight cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors to monitor the road, did not stop driving, despite many visual signs of an emergency scene, including cones, flares and flashing lights on emergency vehicles. At least in one case, the car only detected the emergency vehicle just 0.49 seconds before it made impact.

Scope of the investigation

The investigation will look into Tesla autopilot’s ability to respond to these scenes on the road and will also focus on how Tesla vehicles make sure that drivers are actually paying attention when autopilot is on. 

Tesla’s autopilot is not the same as a self-driving car and drivers are still supposed to watch the road while driving. Tesla’s manual instructs owners to keep their hands on the wheel while autopilot is on. However, Tesla’s autopilot only requires drivers to occasionally tap the steering wheel to keep the autopilot running.

At the same time, some autopilot systems, such as GM’s super cruise, use infrared cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes to make sure they are still watching the road.

Safety tips

If you see an emergency vehicle, please slow down and move over to the right so that the vehicle can respond to the incident as soon as possible. Do not try to beat an ambulance or a police car at a light and keep your eyes on the road while driving. Keep in mind that your car is likely soundproof and you may only have a couple seconds to react to an emergency vehicle before it is too late. Do not engage in conversations with your passengers and try to avoid eating and drinking while driving.

Investigation process

The safety agency’s investigation is currently in a preliminary stage that usually lasts under four months. If evaluators find a safety defect, the agency will escalate the investigation to decide whether to mandate a recall. This typically takes up to a year to complete.

Tesla recalls in 2021

Earlier this summer, Tesla recalled Model Y and Model 3 cars first due to potential loss of tire pressure and then because of faulty seatbelts. In February, the manufacturer issued a Tesla Model S recall over impending loss of essential safety features due to a memory issue. In addition to Model S vehicles, this recall also included Model X crossovers.

Will your vehicle be part of a recall?

Around 765,000 cars could be involved in a future Tesla recall. To see if yours is one of them, bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool and check back for open recalls in the future.

Rebecca RandUS government investigates Tesla autopilot crashes

Tesla recalls 285,000 cars in China over cruise control problem

Beijing, China – June 30, 2021 –Tesla  (NASDAQ:TSLA) will recall 285,520 cars in China because drivers can accidentally activate cruise control, causing the car to unexpectedly change speed. The recall includes:

  • Tesla Model 3 vehicles built outside of China between January 12, 2019 and November 27, 2019
  • Tesla Model 3 vehicles built in China between December 19, 2019 and June 7, 2021
  • Tesla Model Y SUVs built in China between January 1, 2021 and June 7, 2021

Recall summary  

According to a statement by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, the recalled Tesla Model Y’s and 3’s “may cause the driver to incorrectly activate the active cruise function” while shifting out of drive or while making a sharp turn. If cruise control is inadvertently turned on, and then the driver presses the brakes, the car will suddenly accelerate back to its original speed once the brakes are released, without the driver pressing the accelerator.

The recall, a voluntary move by Tesla, follows an investigation by the Chinese government into the defect. 


This kind of unexpected acceleration could confuse or surprise drivers,  potentially causing a crash. 

The repair

Tesla will remotely stream a cruise control software update to recalled Tesla Model 3’s and Y’s. Tesla will contact owners of cars that can not be reached by the update through their dealers. All owners will be notified about the recall and coming update.

Recent Tesla recalls

In the United States, 2020 – 2021 Tesla Model Y SUVs have been recalled three times this year over issues with brakes and seatbelts. Two of these recalls also affected 2020 Tesla Model 3 cars.

Will your vehicle be affected by this recall?

Over 285,000 vehicles are included in China’s 2021 Tesla recall. There is no recall in the United States yet. Bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to stay on top of potential Tesla recalls affecting your car.

Rebecca RandTesla recalls 285,000 cars in China over cruise control problem