Feds push Tesla to recall more vehicles

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Lemon Law |

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently called on Tesla to explain why they initiated a software update for safety issues but did not go through official recall notice.

What was the software update?

Tesla released the “Emergency Light Detection Update” to improve the ability of the vehicle’s autopilot systems to detect emergency vehicles at night. The update was initiated shortly after the announcement of an official investigation into reports of the electric cars crashing into emergency vehicles.

Once installed, the update will allow the vehicle to detect lights from an emergency vehicle when using the autosteer feature. Upon detection, the vehicle will reduce its speed and alert the driver of the slowdown with a chime and message on the touchscreen panel.

Are over-the-air updates covered by federal recall law?

The Safety Act generally requires car manufacturers notify the NHTSA of any safety issues that require a repair. This can range from the need to take a vehicle in to fix an airbag problem to over-the-air software updates that only require an internet connection — like the one discussed above.

Because federal law likely extends to include this type of issue, NHTSA has reached out to Tesla for clarification. Critics of the car manufacturer are calling them out, saying the move was a “stealth recall” designed to reduce the risk of tarnishing their reputation. NHTSA is currently investigating.

What does this mean for Tesla drivers and others in a similar situation?

This is not the first-time feds and drivers have voiced concern that Tesla may not provide straight answers. As discussed in more detail in a previous post, available here, Tesla also had to recall vehicles for loose caliper bolts and seatbelt issues earlier this year.

This latest move could be another example of the automakers’ failure to communicate with their drivers. Those who find themselves frustrated and struggling to get answers may need to make use of federal and state lemon laws to help get the information they need to better ensure their cars are safe.