Tesla Defends Safety Claims

Tesla Defends Safety Claims

Tesla commented on the NHTSA's interest in Autopilot stating that such interest from a regulating body is normal: "Any regulator like NHTSA would be interested in new vehicle technologies and how they make our highways safer", Tesla said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Asked about the documents, a Tesla spokesman on Wednesday pointed to statements made in the company's October 31, 2018, letter to NHTSA in which it maintained that the Model 3 had the lowest risk of occupant injury of any vehicle in US government tests.

This past fall, Tesla touted the safety rating of the Model 3, saying that NHTSA's tests showed the vehicle had "the lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested".

"It is ... inaccurate to claim that the Model 3 has 'the lowest probability of injury of all cars, ' or that Model 3 occupants are 'less likely to get seriously hurt, ' or 'have the best chance of avoiding a serious injury, '" the agency wrote in a letter to Elon Musk.


Tesla shares were up about 1 percent on Wednesday afternoon at $232.92.

This is not the first time that Tesla has disregarded the Guidelines... In a response letter, Tesla insisted on following NHTSA's guidelines in publishing overall safety ratings in advertising Tesla Model 3. "To say that Tesla's midsize sedan has a lower probability of injury than, say, a larger SUV could be interpreted as misunderstanding safety data, an intention to mislead the public, or both".

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".

NHTSA argued that tests for frontal collision include crashing cars into a fixed barrier. Specifically, the NHTSA notes that it simply gives vehicles safety ratings but does not offer up comparisons on the likelihood of injury across varying models.


It is true that Tesla cars have impressive safety scores not only from the NHTSA but also from safety ratings agency from Europe and Australia. The administration contradicted this by pointing out that it did not discriminate among cars with the same safety rating, considering them all to be equally safe.

The Model 3 had received the top rating on the agency's 5-Star Safety Ratings Program that uses three crash tests and a rollover resistance assessment.

Hence, based on the highest VSS score and the added safety features provided by the software updates, it is safe to assume that Tesla Model 3 is one of the safest vehicles out there. Tesla dispatched a reply to that letter on October 31, 2018, supporting its analysis of NHTSA data.

The NHTSA and Tesla did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment by phone and email.


Tesla has yet to comment about this latest issue involving the safety ratings of the Model 3.

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