Tesla stands by safety claims despite USA probes, subpoenas over crashes

Jeannie Matthews
August 11, 2019

The US regulators also sent two subpoenas to Tesla, concerning crashes involving its cars.

The national administration of safety of traffic of the USA (NHTSA) has sharply criticized the is Tesla stating that Model 3 - "the safest auto among all vehicles tested by NHTSA".

The safety board removed Tesla from its regular participation in its probe of the Model X crash in March 2018, saying the company disclosed information about the case in spite of an agreement not to do so while the probe was underway.

That's why this time around the NHTSA is planning to report Tesla to the Federal Trade Commission's Beaurau of Consumer Protection to clear the issue once and for all.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent the Tesla chief executive a cease-and-desist letter last October asking him to stop saying Teslas are the safest cars in the world.

To be clear, there's no issue with the Model 3's 5-star safety rating.

Tesla, meanwhile, maintains that its information regarding injury probability is based on "sound public data" and that it does not "contravene NHTSA's guidelines".

But the plaintiff claims Tesla concealed knowledge the software update was allegedly used "to avoid its duties and legal obligations to customers to fix, repair, or replace the batteries of the Class Vehicles, all of which Tesla knew were defective, yet failed to inform its customers of the defects".

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The NHTSA pointed out that in a head-on collision between an SUV and a Model 3, the larger vehicle would have a higher chance of "survivability and injury avoidance".

Just last month, the Tesla Model 3 was given another high rating after a crash test conducted by the Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP).

In the Model 3 case, NHTSA said it was inaccurate to compare overall safety scores of vehicles with different weights.

Keeping aside this ongoing tug of war between Elon Musk and NHTSA, no one can ignore the fact that Tesla Model 3 is an outright performer. The NHTSA, however, is none too pleased with how Tesla chose to articulate and spin the test results to the public.

Tesla has for years boasted about the flawless 5-star safety ratings its cars have received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A Tesla spokesman had no comment on Wednesday, and referred to the company's letter to NHTSA as its position on the matter.

"As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out August 8, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity", according to a Tesla statement.

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