Tesla recalls over 2 million vehicles due to concerns drivers could ‘misuse’ Autopilot feature

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday a massive recall impacting nearly all Tesla vehicles sold in the United States.

The NHTSA’s recall report issued recalls for the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y produced between 2012 and 2023. The report estimated that the defect will impact 100% of the 2,031,220 listed Tesla models “equipped with Autosteer.”

The automobile safety regulators have been investigating Tesla for two years following a number of alleged Autopilot crashes. NHTSA stated it had reviewed 956 crashes that claimed to have Tesla’s Autopilot feature engaged at the time of the accidents.

According to the NHTSA’s recall notice, Tesla’s Autosteer feature “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”

The impacted vehicles will receive an “over-the-air software remedy” at no cost to consumers.

“The remedy will incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway,” the NHTSA stated.

The software update may also integrate added safety features, such as “increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks up engaging Autosteer and while using the feature outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls.”

According to NHTSA, drivers who repeatedly fail to adhere to the vehicles’ required safeguards, such as keeping their hands on the steering wheel, may be suspended from using the Autosteer feature.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from the Wall Street Journal.

In a post on X, Tesla stated that collisions are less common when drivers engage Autopilot.

“In the 4th quarter of 2022, we recorded one crash for every 4.85 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology. For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology, we recorded one crash for every 1.40 million miles driven. By comparison, the most recent data available from NHTSA and FHWA (from 2021) shows that in the United States there was an automobile crash approximately every 652,000 miles,” the automobile company stated.

Tesla reiterated that even when engaging its Autopilot feature, drivers are still responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle at all times.

“The driver is notified of this responsibility, consents, agrees to monitor the driving assistance, and can disengage anytime,” it noted.

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