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Tesla Investigated Over Autopilot Recall

» Posted May 13, 2024Resources | Share This Post

Federal regulators are ratcheting up the heat on Tesla over concerns about the carmakers’ Autopilot driver assist technology.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Tesla’s recent recall of the Autopilot system. The agency is focusing on whether the company has done enough to ensure that drivers remain attentive while using the technology.

The goal is to “evaluate the adequacy” of the recall, NHTSA said in public documents, “including the prominence and scope of Autopilot controls to address misuse, mode confusion, or usage in environments the system is not designed for.”

Tesla in December issued a massive Autopilot recall covering some 2 million vehicles in the U.S alone. The company called back another 1.6 million cars in China the following month.

Tesla said at the time it would issue a software update for those vehicles to provide more safeguards against misuse of the Autopilot mode linked to several accidents.

The U.S. recall came after a two-year NHTSA investigation sparked by hundreds of crashes involving Teslas in Autopilot mode and the more advanced “Full Self-Driving” mode. At least 29 people have died in those crashes, including a California man killed in 2018 when his car slammed into a freeway barrier near Redwood City.

The cars struck people or objects in their paths in 13 of the fatal accidents, according to NHTSA. The agency found that cameras, sensors and software did not spot obstacles in the cars’ paths in those cases and drivers did not adjust quickly enough to avoid disaster.

There is mounting evidence that Teslas engaged in driver-assist struggle to spot stopped emergency and other vehicles and to react to those vehicles when necessary. A Tesla Model S was reportedly engaged in Autopilot when the vehicle smashed into a fire truck in Culver City in 2019, for example.

How the California Lemon Law Works

Tesla is not alone. The world’s largest automakers call back millions of vehicles every single year, citing a wide range of defects that pose serious safety threats. Even when cars are recalled, automakers do not always effectively address the problems.

There is some good news for Tesla and other car owners in California. You have some valuable rights and protections under the state’s lemon law when it comes to defective and malfunctioning cars. You often do not need to wait around for a recall to get your vehicles fixed.

The lemon law forces automakers to perform various repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also requires those companies to buy back vehicles that they cannot or will not fix. That includes covering the purchase price and financing fees, as well as other related expenses.

Automakers can instead offer to replace the vehicle. However, the owner must decide whether to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.

Talk with an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney

If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, an Orange County lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.  

Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with an Orange County lemon law attorney.

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"Had nothing but problems with my car. Jordan did a great job with getting Honda to listen and ended up settling. Im so glad Bickel helped me."
Posted By: Rob Sanders