The NHTSA was about to fine Tesla because the company hadn’t filed a recall for problems with its software
Tesla launched an update on October 25th to fix a problem with cars braking for no reason
Tesla agreed to file recalls for its future safety problems
Early in October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a letter to Tesla, demanding explanations as to why the company didn’t file an official recall when it launched an update to fix a problem with its Autopilot software.
The NHTSA is the US government agency that is in charge of vehicle safety, and thus recall. Automakers have to file a recall with the NHTSA when they find a defect with their vehicles that could impact their safety.
Tesla didn’t recall its vehicles when their software needed a fix because the company could just push an update over the internet.
The NHTSA got wind of this practice when Tesla launched an update to fix the problem it was investigating, namely the glitch that caused Tesla’s to collide with emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road, without notifying them.
Tesla was given an ultimatum to answer those questions, which ended Monday. No information pertaining to the automaker’s response have been released.
What we do know is that Tesla did file a recall for its latest software problem. A bug was introduced in an update that was issued on October 23rd. Following this update, cars could suffer phantom braking, meaning they could make an emergency stop for no reason, which could lead to other drivers hitting the vehicle from behind.
According to the automaker, the fault was identified on October 24th and another update was issued to fix it on October 25th and the automaker notified the NHTSA on October 26th.
Having an official recall on file is important for the NHTSA because it can then better make sure the fix was carried out to as many vehicles as possible. Regular updates can be opted out of by the owners and without a proper notice, many Tesla drivers don’t know which updates contain critical safety modifications.