NTSB Criticizes Tesla for Failing to Address Autopilot Safety Recommendations Issued 4 Years Ago

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is in the hot seat once again, this time over failing to respond to recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding its Autopilot system.

According to a letter sent to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy accuses the EV maker of not addressing recommendations to ensure that drivers are paying attention while Autopilot is engaged, and to limit the use of the controversial driver-assist system to only certain roads. The recommendations were put forth by the agency four years ago, with Homendy saying that she is “deeply concerned” over the EV maker’s lack of initiative to respond to the safety suggestions.

Although the NTSB does not actually hold regulatory authority to enforce such safety changes upon automakers, the agency does make recommendations to the automakers, as well as other federal agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In the letter, Homendy criticized Musk for moving ahead to allow drivers to opt in to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta technology— which can be enabled for use on public highways and city streets— without first acknowledging the very same design shortcomings that caused a number of high-profile accidents where Teslas crashed into parked emergency vehicles.

“If you are serious about putting safety front and center in Tesla vehicle design, I invite you to complete action on the safety recommendations we issued to you four years ago,” she urged. The letter was released mere hours after the NHTSA revealed that Tesla wishes to keep the partial response it submitted to the agency regarding an investigation into its Autopilot system.

Back in August, the NHTSA issued a wide-ranging request for details as part of its investigation spanning across 765,000 vehicles manufactured from 2014 through to 2021 regarding Tesla’s Autopilot. According to a document published on the agency’s website, investigators are in the midst of reviewing Tesla response— which was submitted by last Friday’s deadline— and that the automaker has asked to keep the entirety of its submission private.

In its information request, the NHTSA has asked Tesla to provide a detailed explanation of how Autopilot reacts when emergency vehicles are parked at crashes and other hazards. Specifically, the agency wants to know how exactly Autopilot is able to identify an accident scene, and how Teslas respond to flashing lights, road flares, and the reflective vests worn by emergency personnel.

Information for this briefing was found via the NTSB and the NHTSA. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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