Consumer protection advocate and former candidate for President Ralph Nader is calling on federal regulators to recall Tesla’s “full self-driving” (FSD) features. Nader has most recently referred to the vehicles as “manslaughtering” and said Tesla’s deployment of the technology was “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades.”
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating at least 16 crashes involving Tesla drivers. The accidents under investigation have resulted in 15 injuries including one fatality. Tesla has reported that over 100,000 vehicle owners are currently beta testing the technology on public roads. Most of the crashes under investigation occurred after dark. The cause of these crashes are believed to be a result of the Tesla proprietary software failing to recognize warning lights, flares, cones, and arrow boards often used to direct traffic. The probe is in the second and final phase of the investigation.
Almost 50 other crashes involving Tesla vehicles using full self-driving features have resulted in 19 deaths, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. Those accidents are included on the agency’s list of Special Crash Investigations (SCI).
In a statement released by the Center for Auto Safety, Nader said, “together we need to send an urgent message to the casualty-minded regulators that Americans must not be test dummies for a powerful, high-profile corporation and its celebrity CEO. No one is above the laws of manslaughter.”
Tesla is facing backlash from more than just Nader. There are currently allegations from California BMW that the company made “untrue or misleading” claims about their vehicles’ full self-driving capabilities. Last year, two US Senators asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Tesla’s advertising material, stating the company “overstated the capabilities of its vehicles.”
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