There is no doubt that electric cars are the future. It is also evident that Telsa is leading the way in ushering in this new era. But, there continue to be bumps in the road as they try to lead us there.
Investigators for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are looking into 354 complaints over the last nine months that the cars with the partially automated driver-assist feature, which uses adaptive cruise control and automatically steers and brakes in its lane, brakes while traveling at highway speeds for no apparent reason. These random actions also include rapid deceleration, sometimes repeatedly during a drive. Owners have voiced concern that they may get hit from behind because there is no reason for the car to slow down.
These phantom stops involve Tesla Model 3 and Y. The investigation involves model years 2021 and 2022 for a total of 416,000 cars. Fortunately, no crashes or injuries were reported. This is the fourth formal investigation in the last three years, and there have also been 15 Tesla recalls since January of 2021.
New lawsuits about failure to stop
The company is also facing lawsuits from owners who claim their vehicles failed to stop. The husband of a woman who died in a Model 3 claims that the car in autopilot mode ran into a stationary fire truck on the highway in Indiana. He filed lawsuits accusing the company and founder Elon Musk of false claims regarding the capabilities of the self-driving system. The plaintiff claims that his car also struck a fire truck stopped on the highway. The plaintiff broke his spine and femur, and his wife died from her injuries. The lawsuit also alleges that the company is well aware of the problem of hitting stationary objects but does not make substantiative changes while celebrating its vehicles’ capabilities.
This lawsuit is just one instance. Five others already filed, and at least 11 deaths and 33 crashes were caused under similar circumstances where the autopilot failed to stop for emergency vehicles. The company tried to address the issue with a software update, which led to criticism from the NHTSA for not doing a proper recall.