Sudden Tesla cars acceleration were user error – US government.
A year-long analysis of reports that some Tesla vehicles were speeding without warning has been completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, saying there is not enough proof to launch a full investigation.
Although NHTSA received 246 complaints about this “sudden unintended acceleration” occurrence, the agency notes that in every case for which it had data to check, i.e. user error, “pedal misapplication” was the cause of the problem.
The Agency wrote in a statement released Friday, “There is no proof of any fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that contributed to any of the aforementioned incidents.” There is no clear evidence of a design factor leading to an increased risk of misuse of the pedal. The theory given in the subject vehicles of a possible electronic trigger of SUA is based on erroneous assumptions about device design and log data.
For years, reports of so-called “sudden unintentional acceleration” have bothered Tesla. In 2018, the company settled most of an alleged class action lawsuit over the issue. NHTSA believes it obtained accident information and video from the “black box” incident data recorders of cars and from Tesla itself. The agency did not specify the number of cases for which it collected data, although 246 cases were identified. The problem was assumed to affect around 662,000 cars in the lineup of Tesla.
In reply to a “defect petition” by Brian Sparks, an investor who was shorting Tesla’s stock, the investigation was opened in January 2020 (or betting that the price would go down). He received more than 100 complaints about the problem that had already been forwarded to NHTSA, as well as similar press-related incidents, and demanded an investigation from the department.
I believe there is a structural flaw in Tesla cars which puts their drivers and the public at risk. I also assume that Tesla must be aware of and unresponsive to this flaw,” he wrote in December 2019. Sparks also took issue with the inability of Tesla to provide owners with data regarding these acceleration cases.
“This petition will show that Tesla vehicles appear to have a Sudden Unintended Acceleration Problem on the basis of publicly available information and Tesla must know about this problem.”
Tesla replied with a blog post to the analysis that argued there was no validity to the definition. “We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and we confirmed that the car operated as designed in every case where we had the vehicle’s information,” the company wrote.
“Sparks said in a message to The Verge on Friday: “The rate of unintended acceleration reports appears especially high in Tesla-made vehicles compared to other vehicles, but I trust government institutions. If NHTSA says that no defect exists, then I trust them. I appreciate NHTSA for assessing the charges brought by SUA.