Once again, Tesla is at the center of a federal probe surrounding the popular electric vehicles. Basically, auto safety regulators are looking into hundreds of new complaints from Tesla drivers. These drivers are claiming the cars are doing what is dubbed “phantom braking.”
These complaints center around the autopilot feature, which has garnered concern in the past. Drivers claim that the brakes will randomly engage while using this semi-autonomous system in their Teslas. According to The Washington Post, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now looking into these complaints and this entire situation.
The NHTSA received 354 complaints regarding this issue with braking in 2021-2022. This issue seems to mostly happen with Model Y and Model 3 vehicles over this nine-month-long period of time.
In order to sort through these complaints, the organization is going to investigate about 416,000 vehicles. “The complaints allege that while utilizing the [advanced driver assistance system] features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds,” NHTSA said in a public notice.
Phantom Braking, Other Recalls
This “phantom braking” can be dangerous for those within the vehicle. The car will stop randomly with no warning and this can happen more than once in a single ride. This can increase the chances of a collision or other injuries as well.
Tesla has so far not responded to any requests for comments. This makes sense, seeing as the press relations department is no longer as of 2020.
Unfortunately, Tesla is becoming somewhat familiar with recalls. The company has had to do 11 total recalls over the past few months. Issues range from seatbelt alerts or the new “Full Self Driving” that causes people to roll through stop signs. Another recall related to the ability to place custom sounds as the car horn. Certain safety organizations thought that doing this could potentially make pedestrian warning systems hard to hear. It all seemed to start in October when the company didn’t issue a formal recall after updating vehicles to detect emergency vehicles better in low light.
As for Elon Musk, he has taken to calling federal regulators the “fun police” for looking into some of these past issues.
Tesla Sued After Crash
On top of it all, Tesla is being sued after a suspension failure led to a crash that killed a driver and passenger in Florida last year. The entire situation also led to a federal probe into the safety of these vehicles.
According to Reuters, it was ruled that the 2021 Model 3 car had a “defective and unreasonably dangerous suspension that may cause loss of control during ordinary and foreseeable driving conditions.”
A few days before the accident, the driver also took the car to the Tesla Store due to problems with the vehicle. A manager at the store is being accused of not properly inspecting the car at this time.