The NHTSA is reviewing claims of 'sudden unintended acceleration' in Teslas

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Per the summary information, the alleged defect pertains to model year 2012 through 2019 Tesla Model S vehicles, 2016 through 2019 Tesla Model X vehicles and 2018 through 2019 Tesla Model 3 vehicles. The petitioner cited 127 consumer complaints involving 123 different vehicles, of which 110 resulted in crashes and 52 injuries were sustained.

Reuters said Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The publication also highlights several of the individual complaints. In one instance, a driver of a 2015 Tesla Model S 85D in California said the vehicle was closed and locked and “a few moments later the vehicle started accelerating forward towards the street and crashed into a parked car.”

In another complaint, a driver from Pennsylvania said they were pulling into a parking spot at an elementary school when their Tesla suddenly accelerated on its own, jumping a curb and crashing into a chain link fence.

Unsurprisingly, lots in the media are skeptical of the claims against Tesla. Jalopnik’s Michael Ballaban said he would be surprised if anything comes of the petition, and even cited an older case involving elderly drivers confusing pedals in their Toyotas. Electrek also points to previous instances where Tesla has presented evidence (car logs) showing user error (the person pressed the wrong pedal) as the culprit in similar cases.

What are your thoughts? Does Tesla genuinely have a problem on its hands or is this little more than people being too proud to admit that they screwed up and accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake?

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QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
I use my Adaptive Cruise Control all the time. I've noticed that my system gets confused if someone gets out of my way far more often than if someone gets into my way and slows down.

In situations where someone gets out of my way, it will accelerate without permission.
 

BadThad

TS Maniac
Undoubtedly human error. These people just want an excuse for their mistake and hope to collect a cash settlement from Tesla. Tesla has fended off hundreds of these cases using the data logs taken from the cars.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Does Tesla genuinely have a problem on its hands or is this little more than people being too proud to admit that they screwed up and accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake?
Does Tesla have a problem? Is the pope Catholic? Does a bear... well, you get the idea!
 

BigRedPDX

TS Enthusiast
This is a situation we all knew was going to happen. Blame the robot or the person? We can't rely on people being accountable for their own actions. Pride is more important than trust, right? I don't think Tesla is to blame and they have programming logs! It will say when certain features are pressed in the vehicle.
 
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Plutoisaplanet

TS Maniac
Either way, it's such a small population that if Tesla paid out these people, it would be $15 million tops, they'd be able to solve it with software, and it would barely make a dent in their finances. Right now their revenue is over $20b a year... Tesla isn't exactly a startup anymore where this would be a "serious" issue.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
One thing is for sure, Musk always seems to have his name in the news .... one way or the other!....
Well most of those in Hollywood contend that, "there's no such thing as bad press".

With that said, high profile Hollywood couples seem to gather contractions of their names together.
Since Musk is always with the one he loves the most, (himself), I think we should start calling him "ElMu". Just flows off the tongue, does it not?
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Clarified!
What I think you meant to say was, "wouldn't the turn signals be a gastrointestinal gaseous giveaway".

I could have said, "wouldn't the silent but deadly farting turn signals give it away:? But then that would have been an oxymoron, or possibly an invitation for ElMu to put noxious odors out as notice of intent, instead of the whole, "whoopee cushion paradigm".

It would be funny standing on the corner waiting for the light to change, with people looking at one another, trying to figure out who farted, while it was the car the whole time.
 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
I could have said, "wouldn't the silent but deadly farting turn signals give it away:? But then that would have been an oxymoron, or possibly an invitation for ElMu to put noxious odors out as notice of intent, instead of the whole, "whoopee cushion paradigm".

It would be funny standing on the corner waiting for the light to change, with people looking at one another, trying to figure out who farted, while it was the car the whole time.
I'm sure many people would appreciate having something else to blame for the sounds their body emits.

On top of that, this could solve the problem of "silent" electric cars scaring pedestrians, without the need for annoying "hum" or "rev" sounds, which can disrupt the driver's experience and distract them from playing Cuphead or Tetris on their in-car tablet (sorry, instrument panel). After all, we humans have been conditioned to ignore honking horns, tire screeching, etc., but if someone breaks wind in our vicinity, every head in the building is going to turn and look.

I think you've really struck gold here, captain. You should see if Elon Tusk would be willing to license and implement some of these ideas in his next car, the Model 240.
 
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sreams

TS Member
I use my Adaptive Cruise Control all the time. I've noticed that my system gets confused if someone gets out of my way far more often than if someone gets into my way and slows down.

In situations where someone gets out of my way, it will accelerate without permission.
What car is that? In a Tesla, you set a maximum speed for TACC (Traffic Aware Cruise Control), and the car accelerates to that speed whenever there is space to do so. Are you saying your car is exceeding the set speed? That would be a serious defect.
 

Laurie585

TS Rookie
What car is that? In a Tesla, you set a maximum speed for TACC (Traffic Aware Cruise Control), and the car accelerates to that speed whenever there is space to do so TelltheBell. Are you saying your car is exceeding the set speed? That would be a serious defect.
Uncertain. Does need further review.
 

Nobina

TS Evangelist
I use my Adaptive Cruise Control all the time. I've noticed that my system gets confused if someone gets out of my way far more often than if someone gets into my way and slows down.

In situations where someone gets out of my way, it will accelerate without permission.
Well, when one day you crash and die it's gonna be your fault cause a machine doesn't make mistakes, even though it's programmed by a human.
 

jgraham11

TS Enthusiast
Undoubtedly human error. These people just want an excuse for their mistake and hope to collect a cash settlement from Tesla. Tesla has fended off hundreds of these cases using the data logs taken from the cars.
The problem with those logs is that they record the values from their inputs. What of the problem is the input, in this case the gas pedal itself. From the Tesla recorder stand point, it will show that the pedal had been pushed and that's why it accelerated. However the operator may have never actually pushed the gas pedal, and that is something that seems to be missing in these discussions.

Toyota had a similar issue with their pedals a few years ago, remember the 911 call where the guy is out of control on the freeway... This type of error would result in the logs showing that the operator was pushing the pedal even if they weren't.
 
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Capaill

TS Evangelist
There are too many different cases for all of them to be user error. Especially the one where the car was turned off and locked. I wouldn't be surprised if remote hacking was a factor in a few cases. I suspect there will be a variety of reasons, many of them user error but some will be on Tesla.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
Toyota had a similar issue with their pedals a few years ago, remember the 911 call where the guy is out of control on the freeway... This type of error would result in the logs showing that the operator was pushing the pedal even if they weren't.
That was actually a sabotage. No other car was found to have that problem. That car was on repairs just a few days before it killed its owners. Looks like someone has killed an entire family to reduce sales of Toyota when it reached #1 on the American market.

And we can easily figured out who did it, considering that a much worse bug, which actually killed at least 120 people, was basically covered and masked by the Toyota non-news. The real criminals got away with their crimes, while Toyota was setup and suffered great losses.

BTW, after the inspection was over and no problematic cars were found defective, the media didn't really published it, nor did they apologized to Toyota. It was an orchestrated media campaign to destroy Toyota's sales.