Feds investigating possible safety problem in 500K Teslas

The feds are examining a reported safety problem in about 500,000 Tesla cars that has allegedly caused dozens of injuries.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is reviewing a petition calling for a formal investigation of the “sudden unintended acceleration” issue in Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, the agency said Friday.

The petition submitted Dec. 19 cited 127 consumer complaints involving 123 unique vehicles — including 110 crashes and 52 injuries, according to NHTSA.

The problem affects Tesla Model S cars from the 2012 through 2019 model years, Model X’s from 2016 through 2019 and Model 3 sedans from 2018 through 2019, the agency said.

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation will evaluate the petition’s allegations and open a probe if it grants the petition, according to officials.

Tesla shares were trading down 0.2 percent at $512.29 as of 10:15 a.m. Friday after the news. The electric car maker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reported acceleration problem is just the latest Tesla safety issue to draw scrutiny from the feds.

Elon Musk during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars.
Elon Musk during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars.REUTERS

NHTSA launched a similar review in October of whether Tesla should have recalled about 2,000 vehicles with a potential defect that could have caused battery pack fires. Tesla issued a software update starting in May 2019 to address the problem, but a petitioner said the company should have told officials about it and done a safety recall, NHTSA has said.

The agency has launched investigations of 14 crashes involving Tesla’s “Autopilot” driver assistance tool, which helps cars accelerate, brake and steer in their lanes. The most recent, announced this month, will examine a fatal Dec. 29 collision in which a Model 3 slammed into a parked firetruck in Indiana.

With Post wires

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