The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering whether to investigate and recall 500,000 Tesla cars over reports of sudden acceleration.
A petition cites 127 consumer complaints to the NHTSA involving 110 crashes and 52 injuries involving Tesla vehicles. Reuters and The Verge, a technology news outlet, reported on the petition.
The petition covers:
- 2012-2019 Tesla Model S
- 2016-2019 Tesla Model X
- 2018-2019 Tesla Model 3
Allegations of unintended acceleration were “completely false, according to Tesla.
“We are transparent with NHTSA, and routinely review customer complaints of unintended acceleration with them. Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition. In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly,” Tesla stated.
Anyone can submit a petition seeking an NHTSA investigation into an alleged safety defect. After analyzing the matter, the agency tells the petitioner whether it will investigate.
Complaints regarding Tesla cars
Many of the complaints regarding sudden acceleration of Tesla cars involved attempted parking in a garage or at a curb. Other complaints said the sudden acceleration happened while in traffic or when using driver assistance systems and led to crashes.
In one complaint, a driver said a 2015 Tesla Model S 85D in California was closed and locked when he said “a few moments later the vehicle started accelerating forward towards the street and crashed into a parked car.”
A Tesla driver in Avondale, Pennsylvania, was pulling into a parking spot at an elementary school when the car accelerated on its own, went over a curb and hit a chain-link fence.
Another complaint said a Tesla driver in Andover, Massachusetts was approaching her garage when the car lurched forward and went through and destroyed two garage doors. The car stopped after hitting the garage’s concrete wall.
Tesla’s history of recalls and lawsuits
Tesla is no stranger to recalls and lawsuits. Car and Driver reported that Tesla Inc. was recalling 15,036 Model X SUVs because of a potential issue that can lead to a loss of power steering assist that could make steering harder and increase the risk of a crash.
The recall applies to the 2016 model year but only those built before mid-October 2016.
Tesla said in a statement that the company was not aware of any crashes or injuries that had occurred related to the power steering issue with the Model X SUVs. The recall covers 14,193 U.S. vehicles and 843 in Canada.
NHTSA said it was investigating a Dec. 29, 2019 crash of a Tesla Model 3. That crash left a passenger dead after the car hit a parked fire truck in Indiana. The review is the NHTSA’s 14th related to Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system.
In November 2018, the electric automaker resolved a class-action lawsuit from customers who said their cars would accelerate without warning.
Contact Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC for help with issues of sudden acceleration of Tesla vehicles and for help with other car, truck and motorcycle crashes.