The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared that more than 200 incidents of Tesla cars suddenly accelerating and crashing were due to driver error, not a problem with the electric cars.
The NHTSA made the announcement Friday, following a year-long investigation into a ‘defect petition’ filed by Brian Sparks, an independent investor.
Sparks’ petition included 232 records of complaints involving Tesla Model S and Model 3 sedans and the Model X SUV which had supposedly experienced sudden unintended acceleration and crashed, while the NHTSA found another 14 complaints, the
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that more than 200 complaints of sudden unintended acceleration with Tesla cars was down to user error. Model X SUV shown
The particular car models impacted by the supposed sudden unintended acceleration were made during or after 2013 and Sparks had asked the agency to issue a recall for those models,
The complaints the NHTSA received from Tesla owners claiming that their cars experienced sudden unintended acceleration included incidents where their vehicles supposedly struck a palm tree, a fire hydrant, walls or other cars.
Among the complaints was a photo of a Tesla Model S that supposedly accelerated through the back wall of a garage.
On Friday, the NHTSA said that it had completed their investigation and found that the crashes weren’t the result of a problematic design or faulty car parts.
‘The evidence shows that SUA crashes in the petitioner’s complaints were caused by pedal misapplication,’ the agency said in a statement.
The investigation was prompted by an in independent investor’s petition which included 232 records of Tesla vehicles suddenly accelerating and then crashing
Three models in particular were mentioned in the petition, the Tesla Model S and Model 3 (pictured) sedans and the Model X SUV
‘NHTSA found no evidence of fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that contributed to the cited incidents. NHTSA also found no evidence of a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication.’
The agency went on to say: ‘NHTSA reminds drivers that they are responsible for their vehicle’s safe operation and manufacturers are encouraged to take further steps to educate new consumers on safe vehicle functionality.’
Based on their findings, the NHTSA therefore would be denying Sparks’ petition which would’ve led to the formal review of 662,109 vehicles and their potential recall, Tech Crunch said.
Sparks, who brought the petition to the agency, said that he accepted the findings, despite the number of sudden acceleration complaints for Teslas being ‘astonishingly high’ compared with other types of cars.
Electric cars are said to be able to accelerate at a speed typically only seen with high-end gas-powered cars, which may be a reason why Teslas seem to rocket forward from a standstill.
‘If NHTSA says there is no defect then I consider the matter settled,’ Sparks said, according to the newspaper, adding ‘I appreciate NHTSA’s work.’
When Sparks had first filed his petition, Tesla had denied his claims and called the petition ‘completely false.’
‘We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed,’ the company said in a January 2020
‘In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver told it to do so, and it slows or stops when the driver applies the brake.’