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RECALL! Tesla and NHTSA Issue Recall of 2 Million Vehicles

RECALL!  Tesla is recalling more than 2 million of its vehicles to fix safety issues associated with its Autopilot systems.  To date, this is the largest recall of Tesla’s software for driver assistance.  According to the Washington Post, NHTSA determined that Tesla’s “method of ensuring drivers are still paying attention while the driver-assistance system is activated is insufficient.”  “There may be an increased risk of a crash,” the agency wrote, in some situations when the system is activated “and the driver does not maintain responsibility for vehicle operation and is unprepared to intervene as necessary or fails to recognize when Autosteer is canceled or not engaged.”  This recall follows The Post’s investigation that determined Tesla’s vehicles in Autopilot mode “had repeatedly been involved in deadly crashes on roads where the software was not intended to be used.” The vehicles at issue include 2012-2013 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles, which essentially includes all Teslas on the roads in the U.S.

According to NHTA’s recall, “Autosteer is designed and intended for use on controlled-access highways when the feature is not operating in conjunction with the Autosteer on City Streets feature… in certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature.”

After reviewing federal databases, legal records and public documents, according to the Post, its investigation showed that “at least eight fatal or serious wrecks involved Tesla Autopilot on roads where the driver-assistance software could not reliably operate.”

In response to the recall, Tesla intends to issue remote, over-the-air software update to its vehicles in an effort to address the safety concerns.  It is anticipated that Tesla would start issuing the software updates on December 12, which in turn will add “extra controls and alerts to encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility” and “prevent Autosteer [the Autopilot assistance at issue] from engaging outside of areas where it is supposed to work as well as a feature that can suspend a driver’s Autosteer privileges if the person repeatedly fails to stay engaged at the wheel.”

All Tesla owners should be on the lookout for notices indicating that the software has in fact been updated.  Notices are expected to go out to owners by February 10, 2024.  Until receiving a notice, vehicle owners should be careful when using the Tesla Autopilot features.  If you don’t receive the notice, you should contact a Tesla service center.  Additionally, you can always review any recalls for your vehicle using NHTSA’s recall search tool here.

CKF – Products Liability Attorneys

For nearly 20 years, the attorneys at Cash Krugler Fredericks have specialized in handling cases across the country involving defective products. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective product, the experienced attorneys at Cash Krugler Fredericks can help. Contact us today for a free consultation to get your case started.

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