US government investigates Tesla phantom braking

Washington, D.C. – February 26, 2022 – The U.S. government’s auto safety regulator is investigating a series of incidents with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) vehicles that may unexpectedly brake while driving on autopilot. This increases the risk of a crash and injury. 

This investigation may result in a recall, which may affect an estimated 416,000 vehicles, including: 

  • 2021 – 2022 Tesla Model 3
  • 2021 – 2022 Tesla Model Y

Investigation summary  

The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened an investigation on February 16, following 354 complaints about phantom braking occurring when the vehicle was driving using the autopilot feature

Based on the complaints, vehicles would sometimes start braking “very aggresively”, although there were no obstacles on the road. This happened without any prior warnings or apparent reasons. 

The autopilot  – which is referred to as the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – allows the vehicle to “ brake and steer automatically within its lanes.” 


A vehicle that slams on the brakes hard and unexpectedly may be hit from behind by oncoming traffic. In addition, a vehicles’ sudden reaction may confuse the driver and cause it to subsequently lose control over the vehicle. 

Other Tesla recalls 

Apart from this ongoing investigation, there were several recent Tesla Model 3 recalls, including one caused by failure to warn the pedestrians about its approach. In addition, there was another previous Tesla Model Y recall in November 2021, which was also caused by sudden and unwanted braking.  Both of the recalls included other Tesla models.

Is your vehicle part of a recall?

This Tesla phantom braking investigation may eventually lead to a recall, possibly affecting over 400,000 vehicles. To do a Tesla recall check for your own vehicle, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Bojan PopicUS government investigates Tesla phantom braking

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