Two months ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an inaugural report providing data on vehicles with advanced technology.
From July 20th, 2021, to May 21st, 2022, the most accidents involving advanced driver-assist systems and autonomous technology were Tesla vehicles at 273, a majority of the total number of crashes at 392. The revelation also comes under a cloud of controversy, with the NHTSA conducting 39 ongoing investigations involving the controversial brand.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California alleges false advertising, filing a pair of complaints with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings at the end of July. They cite “untrue or misleading claims” when it comes to self-driving capabilities, with advertisements nothing more than “a deceptive practice.”
Tesla’s Autopilot features traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer. For an extra $12,000, Tesla vehicle buyers can add automatic parking and lane changing, along with the ability for drivers to summon a car from where they parked to where they were. In addition, they can access a beta program that tests pending features.
Yet, vehicles are anything but fully autonomous and mandate drivers to continue paying attention and maintaining control of the steering wheel.
While Tesla touts its disclaimers claim that it does little to take back previous and highly misleading statements. Potential penalties could lead to the company’s license to manufacture and sell vehicles in California. Neither side expects that level of drastic action. The agency claims that it would require the company to educate customers thoroughly and provide warnings regarding the technology’s limitations.
Tesla has been a longtime presence, yet their vehicles still seem to be a perpetual “work in progress.” Controversy continues to slowly tarnish the brand name. Higher standards of safety and clear communication can minimize serious accidents caused by cutting-edge tech.