Tesla FINALLY Recalled for Defective Autopilot; Telaré Law Explains What You Need to Know

Tesla is recalling over 2 million vehicles in the U.S. because there's a problem with its Autopilot system, the one that's supposed to help drivers pay better attention to the road. This comes after a two-year investigation by safety authorities into accidents involving Tesla's semi-automated driving feature, Autopilot, which even led to some deaths.

The investigators found that how Autopilot checks if the driver is paying attention might not be enough, allowing the system to be misused. Despite Autopilot being able to steer, accelerate, and brake by itself in its lane, it's not fully autonomous—it needs a driver's assistance. Tests have shown that people can manipulate the monitoring system, like driving drunk or sitting in the back seat. Tesla agrees there are challenges but says Autopilot makes driving safer. The recall affects almost all Teslas in the U.S., and it includes a software update to improve monitoring and prevent misuse. The investigation is still ongoing to see if Tesla's fixes are effective.

Tesla boasts a big game, but the game is full of penalties

Earlier this year, before this massive recall, Autoweek released an article detailing how Tesla is the most recalled car brand.  Out of the 400 recalls issued by the NHTSA in 2022, impacting over 25 million vehicles, four of the top five spots were occupied by Tesla models. The Tesla Model Y ranked highest with a projected 62.4 recalls over its 30-year lifetime, followed by the Model 3 at 56.8, the Model X at 27.3, and the Model S at 26.4. The data considered Over The Air updates (OTAs) as recalls, aligning with NHTSA classifications. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz emerged as the least recalled brand, followed by Toyota and Lexus.

Here is a list of Tesla recalls (all from this year) that have happened before this most recent recall:

  • Incorrect Air Bag Installation (Steering):
    • Models Affected: 2021-2023 Model S and Model X
    • Issue: Incorrect air bag installation during steering yoke or round steering wheel replacement.
  • Brake Fluid Warning Failure (Service Brakes, Hydraulic):
    • Models Affected: 2021-2023 Model X
    • Issue: Vehicle controller may fail to detect low brake fluid, leading to a missing warning light.
  • Misaligned Forward-Facing Camera (Forward Collision Avoidance):
    • Models Affected: 2023 Model S, Model X, and Model Y
    • Issue: Forward-facing camera misalignment affecting active safety features without driver alert.
  • Front Seat Belt Connection Issue (Seat Belts):
    • Models Affected: 2021-2023 Model S and Model X
    • Issue: Front-row seat belts may not be properly connected to pretensioner anchors, risking detachment.
  • Defective Pyrotechnic Battery Disconnect (Electrical System: Propulsion System):
    • Models Affected: 2023 Model 3 and Model Y
    • Issue: Defective pyrotechnic battery disconnect in the propulsion system.
  • Loose Steering Wheel Fastener (Steering):
    • Models Affected: 2022-2023 Model Y
    • Issue: Loose steering wheel fastener.
  • Weak Camera Signal for Rear Visibility (Back Over Prevention):
    • Models Affected: 2023 Model X with full self-driving computer 4.0
    • Issue: Weak camera signal may prevent rearview image display.
  • Front Suspension Lateral Link Fasteners (Suspension: Front):
    • Models Affected: 2018-2019 Model 3
    • Issue: Front suspension lateral link fasteners may loosen, risking separation from the sub-frame.
  • Second-Row Seat Back Frame Bolts (Seats: Critical Fasteners):
    • Models Affected: 2022-2023 Model Y
    • Issue: Bolts securing second-row seat back frames may not be securely tightened.

The dangers of autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles, those futuristic self-driving cars, bring both potential benefits and concerns. Advocates argue they can reduce human errors in car accidents, but critics raise important issues:

  • Tech issues: These cars rely on complex systems like sensors and software. If any part fails or has a glitch, accidents can happen. Bugs in the software or malfunctions in sensors may affect the vehicle's ability to navigate safely.
  • Human judgment missing: Unlike humans who can quickly decide in tricky situations, AI in autonomous cars may struggle. Unpredictable scenarios, like complex traffic or sudden weather changes, may challenge these systems. Even in cars like Teslas with autopilot, drivers should stay alert to step in if needed.
  • Hacking risks: With increased connectivity, autonomous cars could be targets for hackers. Breaching the vehicle's software could lead to unauthorized control, risking passenger and road safety. Strong cybersecurity measures are crucial.
  • Traffic mix issues: When both autonomous and human-driven cars share the road, challenges arise. Human drivers might not understand how autonomous vehicles behave, causing confusion and potential accidents. Interactions with pedestrians and cyclists may also be challenging for autonomous systems.
  • Real-world testing concerns: While advancing vehicle tech is essential for safety, rushing untested technology into public use poses risks, especially when it comes to letting computers control our vehicles. An incident involving a Tesla and a child leaving a school bus illustrates the importance of cautious implementation to avoid accidents.

Making cars smarter is great for safety and convenience, but it's crucial not to rush new technology without proper testing. And when you are in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, who is liable? The driver or the manufacturer? This question is just one of the many reasons why having an experienced autonomous vehicle accident attorney on your side is important to receiving compensation.

If you've been hurt in a crash with a self-driving car, whether it's a recalled Tesla or another autonomous vehicle, it's essential to understand your rights. Similar to regular car accidents, drivers are responsible for staying attentive. If their negligence led to your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation. At Telaré Law, we will make you our top priority, and we will fight for your rightful restitution even from big companies like Tesla. To schedule a free consultation, call us at our offices in Kennewick and Richland, or use our contact form.