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.

Risks

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 issues second recall for vehicles with faulty pedestrian warning systems

Austin, TX – April 24, 2022 – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is recalling 594,717 vehicles that may fail to warn pedestrians when approaching. This increases the risk of a crash or injury. This recall supersedes a previous recall issued over the same concern in February this year.

The recall applies to the following models:

  • 2020 – 2022 Model S
  • 2020 – 2022 Model X
  • 2020 – 2022 Model Y
  • 2017 – 2022 Model 3

Recall summary

These Tesla models have a Pedestrian Warning System (PWS), which warns pedestrians of the vehicle’s nearly silent approach. In the recalled vehicles the PWS may be inaudible due to the simultaneous use of the Boombox function which allows the vehicle to play other sounds in place of a regular horn in certain scenarios.

While the previous remedy was set to disable the PWS when the car is motion, going in reverse or when in “Neutral,” the feature is still available with the use of the optional Summon or Smart Summon feature.

These features allow the user to “summon” the car out of its parking space or “move it to a specific location” if the driver is standing within a set distance.

Recall risks

If the PWS is inaudible, pedestrians may be unaware of an approaching vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash or injury.

Background of the recall

For additional background on this recall, please visit the following page.

The repair

An over-an-air update under this recall will disable Boombox with the use of Summon or Smart Summon features at no cost to the owner.

In the previous recall, the update only applied to Reverse, Neutral and Drive.

Owners can expect to receive further communication from Tesla regarding the repair program by June 6, 2022. 

Other recent Tesla recalls

There was a Tesla Model X recall earlier this month because of front airbags that may fail to deploy if the windows are rolled down, as reported.

In February this year, there was a Model X recall because of windshield that may not defrost as designed, also as reported.

Some of these models are also subject a government investigation over a potentially distractive video game feature and phantom braking while driving on autopilot.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 600,000 vehicles are included in this Tesla Boombox recall. To do a Tesla recall check, please use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Senamile NkosiTesla issues second recall for vehicles with faulty pedestrian warning systems

Tesla recalls vehicles whose airbags may fail to deploy

Austin, TX – April 23, 2022 – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is recalling 7,289 of 2021-2022 Tesla Model X vehicles whose front airbags may not deploy properly if front windows are rolled down. This reduces the level of protection during a crash, increasing the risk of an injury.  

Recall summary  

Tesla vehicles that are affected by this recall have airbags on their A-pillars whose purpose is to protect occupants in front seats in case of an accident. Due to a design flaw, these airbags may not deploy properly if front windows are lowered when the accident happens

The components in question are front-row curtain airbags, with part numbers 1036759-00-G for the right-hand airbag and 1036756-00-G for the left-hand one. 

Recall risks

In a collision, the passenger front-row curtain airbags may not deploy as intended, which reduces the level of their protection,  increasing the risk of an injury. 

Other Tesla Model X Recalls

Apart from this issue with Tesla Model X airbags, these vehicles may have been a part of some of the previous recalls. This includes issues with the pedestrian warning system and frosted-up windshields

The repair

Dealers will solve this issue on affected vehicles by replacing both left and right front row curtain airbags free of charge. Replacement parts are designed in a way that prevents improper deployment. Notifications to vehicle owners will be sent on June 7, 2022. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This Tesla airbag recall affects more than 7,000 vehicles. To do a Tesla recall check and see if yours is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Bojan PopicTesla recalls vehicles whose airbags may fail to deploy

Tesla recalls four models over faulty seat belt chime

Austin, TX – February 12, 2022 – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has issued a recall for 817,143 vehicles across four models over a defective seat belt chime. The absence of an audible reminder to wear the seat belt may cause the driver to operate the vehicle without it, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. 

The recall covers the following models:

  • 2021-2022 Tesla Model S
  • 2021-2022 Tesla Model X
  • 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3
  • 2020-2022 Tesla Model Y

Recall summary

The vehicles have a seat belt chime that activates when the vehicle is started, reminding the driver to fasten the seat belt. This works together with a visual seat belt reminder that can be seen on the vehicle’s dashboard.

If the chime is interrupted when the vehicle was previously used while the seat belt was not fastened, a software error will prevent the chime from sounding off the next time the vehicle is used.  This will happen if, for example, the driver left the vehicle while the chime was still going off with the engine running and then returned.

Recall risks

Drivers may not fasten their seat belts, which augments the risk of an injury in a crash.

While the chime will go off at speeds over 13.7 miles per hour (mph), this may not give the driver enough time to fasten the belt before an accident occurs.

Other Tesla recalls 

The latest Tesla seat belt recall is the electric vehicle maker’s fourth, barely two months into 2022. There was a Tesla Model 3 recall  spanning more than 356,000 vehicles in early January over faulty rearview cameras. This was followed by a Tesla Model S recall involving over 119,000 units for hoods that may open while the vehicle is traveling, obscuring the driver’s view.

The third advisory concerned over 53,000 Tesla vehicles over a “rolling stop” feature that allowed them to go through a stop sign without halting completely, presenting a higher risk of collision with other road users.   

In addition to the recalls, the automaker is subject to two investigations, including one for potentially allowing drivers to play video games on the front console while on the road.

The repair

Tesla already released new firmware to correct the software error, enabling the chime to go off. The firmware update was deployed over-the-air (OTA) to the affected vehicles in late January and early February.

Owners will also receive letters with more information on April 1, 2022.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

More than 800,000 vehicles are included in this Tesla recall. To do a Tesla recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.  

Joseph EstabilloTesla recalls four models over faulty seat belt chime