NHTSA Considers Investigation Into Reports Of Teslas With Unintended Acceleration

Marco Green
January 19, 2020

The review was prompted by a petition asking the agency to open a defect investigation of some 500,000 Tesla vehicles over the alleged flaw, the agency said.

We've reached out to Tesla's Australian office for a comment. "The reports include 110 crashes and 52 injuries". Another crash in CT also is under investigation.

In October, the agency said it was reviewing whether Tesla should have recalled 2,000 of its electric cars in May instead of issuing a software upgrade to fix a potential defect that could have resulted in battery fires in Model S and Model X vehicles from the 2012-2019 model years.

"The sheer number of complaints would certainly catch my eye", said Borris, who now runs an auto safety consulting business.

"If Tesla equipment or software is resulting in unintended acceleration, that puts consumers at serious risk", says Ethan Douglas, a senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports in Washington, D.C. "Tesla has previously put features in the hands of consumers that didn't do almost enough to account for safety, which is why it's especially important for NHTSA to quickly get to the bottom of what's happening here".

According toAutomotive News, the complaints of unintended acceleration happen during low-speed situations such as parking or traveling through a traffic jam. Other complaints cited worn-out Velcro causing the floor mats to slip, a complaint which sounds like the one that triggered the Toyota sudden unintended acceleration recall in 2009. He compared Tesla's unintended acceleration complaint rate to other vehicles and found Tesla's to be much higher.

Sudden unintended acceleration, or SUA, refers to incidents when a vehicle quickly and unexpectedly takes off or speeds up for no apparent reason. "It is clear that Tesla has the data and is aware of the problem", Sparks wrote.

In one complaint, an owner in San Clemente, California, told NHTSA that in November of 2018, a Model X SUV accelerated on its own to full power during a U-Turn on a city street. In a few cases, however, the owners complained of the vehicle accelerating even with the brake depressed. That has included investigations into the safety of Autopilot, its driver-assistance system which has grown to encompass adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, and automatic lane changing, among other features. "All complaints are reviewed", the NHTSA confirms.

"NHTSA encourages the public to contact the agency with safety concerns, including any related to these vehicles, online at NHTSA.gov or by calling 888-327-4236".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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