Tesla Touchscreen Defect, Federal Pressure Prompts Calls for Recall
Tesla is recalling nearly 135,000 vehicles in the face of pressure from federal regulators who said touchscreen defects increase the risk of a crash.
The recall covers certain Model X and Model S vehicles with touchscreen displays that could fail, Reuters reports. The company announced that it was calling back the cars the same day it was required to respond to a recall demand from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A NHTSA investigation found that failing touchscreens raised a number of safety hazards, including disabling cameras and exterior signal lights, as well as defrosting systems.
“The loss of these functions can increase the risk of crash,” NHTSA told Tesla in a January 13 letter demanding the recall.
Tesla agreed to the recall, but said it was calling the cars back simply to resolve the inquiry and “ensure the best ownership experience for our customers.”
“While we are not aware of any crash, injury, or fatality resulting from this condition, unavailability of the rearview camera display, defrost/defog control settings for purposes of ensuring visibility, and exterior turn signal lighting may increase the risk of a crash,” Tesla said in a defect notice. “For vehicles for which these functions are not available, drivers can continue to operate the vehicle by performing a shoulder check and using their mirrors when backing, taking care when making turns, and assuring clear visibility when driving.”
The recall comes as federal regulators are also reportedly continuing to probe Tesla’s efforts to make cars fully autonomous. A handful of accidents in recent years have raised questions about the company’s Autopilot driver-assist system, designed to allow cars to automatically steer, accelerate and brake while staying in their lane.
A Florida man had autopilot engaged in his Tesla when the vehicle drove beneath a semitrailer, causing a crash that left him dead, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. A Tesla sport utility vehicle driver reportedly using autopilot mode was killed in California in 2018 when the car collided with a freeway barrier near Redwood City.
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