Car Safety Group Pushes NHTSA For Tesla Recall After Damning NTSB Report On 2018 Crash

The Center For Auto Safety - a non profit car safety advocacy group - is asking the NHTSA for a recall of Tesla vehicles, according to Law 360.

The outcry comes after a an NTSB report blamed a 2018 Tesla crash, in part, on the company's Autopilot system. The CFAS said that the NTSB report confirmed that Autopilot is "dangerous and leads to crashes". They also argue that the NTSB report highlights a design flaw in the technology which allows drivers to disengage. 

The CFAS stated that the system (along with its "Autopilot" label) encourages drivers to rely too much on the technology - an argument that Tesla skeptics, short sellers and, well, anybody with common sense have been making for years. 

In a statement, the Center said: "Put simply, a vehicle that enables a driver to not pay attention, or fall asleep, while accelerating into a parked fire truck is defective and dangerous. Any company that encourages such behavior should be held responsible, and any agency that fails to act bears equal responsibility for the next fatal incident.”

Additionally, CFAS also criticized Tesla for its “claims of superior safety,” stating that it didn't think the company would do anything to address or respond to the NTSB's findings.  

We wrote about the NTSB's findings on Wednesday, reporting that the organization concluded  that the probable causes of a 2018 Culver City, California crash were:

  1. The Tesla driver’s lack of response to the stationary fire truck in his travel lane, due to inattention and overreliance on the vehicle’s advanced driver assistance system.

  2. The Tesla’s Autopilot design, which permitted the driver to disengage from the driving task

  3. And the driver’s use of the system in ways inconsistent with guidance and warnings from the manufacturer.

About 8:40 a.m. on Monday, January 22, 2018, a 2014 Tesla Model S P85 car was traveling in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane of southbound Interstate 405 (I-405) in Culver City, California. The Tesla was behind another vehicle. Because of a collision in the northbound freeway lanes that happened about 25 minutes earlier, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) vehicle was parked on the left shoulder of southbound I-405, and a Culver City Fire Department truck was parked diagonally across the southbound HOV lane. The emergency lights were active on both the CHP vehicle and the fire truck. When the vehicle ahead of the Tesla changed lanes to the right to go around the fire truck, the Tesla remained in the HOV lane, accelerated, and struck the rear of the fire truck at a recorded speed of about 31 mph.

The Center for Auto Safety was founded in 1970 by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader as a consumer safety group to protect drivers.