If the NHTSA is looking to finally grow a backbone and actually do what's right for consumers in the U.S., they could look to Germany for their template.
That's because a case brought by Germany’s Wettbewerbszentrale (the country's auto industry body that polices anti-competitive practices) has now prevented Tesla from using what a court called "misleading advertising statements" to describe the capabilities of its driver assistance systems and its full-self driving feature (which we remind you, still doesn't exist).
“The use of the term ‘Autopilot’ and other formulations suggest that the vehicle is technically capable of fully autonomous driving,” the court said, before clarifying that Autopilot is “a driver assistance system.”
Tesla can appeal the case, according to Reuters.
The court agreed with the industry body and has ruled Tesla cannot say “full potential for autonomous driving” and “Autopilot inclusive” in its advertising materials in Germany. The court ruled those statements amounted to "misleading business practices" and that the average buyer could be led to believe the car could drive without human intervention which, of course, is not the truth.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., highway safety regulators have allowed one accident after the next involving Tesla's Autopilot to take place without taking any type of decisive action to correct the record and inform consumers that Tesla's description of its autonomous driving features may differ vastly from reality. The examples pile up (literally) almost daily.
Recall, just yesterday, we posted yet another story of a Tesla on Autopilot slamming into an inanimate object. This time it was a Tesla on a highway slamming into the back of a patrol car in the middle of a traffic stop. Luckily, the officer was not in the car and was not injured.
"We can confirm the driver indicated to troopers the Tesla was on autopilot at the time of the collision. Additionally, the driver, a 23-year-old male from Irvine, CA, is being investigated for DUI. He remains in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries," the Arizona Department of Safety commented on Twitter.
Additionally, it was just about a month ago that we reported about a Tesla traveling on a highway in Taiwan, at what appeared to be full speed, before slamming directly into an overturned truck that was laying across the highway. The Tesla appeared to make little or no change in direction before hitting the truck. At one point, smoke can be seen coming out of the back tires of the vehicle, indicating that the Tesla may have tried to brake - but to no avail.
Days before that incident, we reported on a Tesla that was found to have driven off a cliff under "mysterious" circumstances in Santa Clara County, California.
Finally, two weeks ago, we reported that Tesla's Autopilot was to blame for a similar near-fatal accident that took place last December. A Massachusetts State Police trooper had just pulled over a vehicle on the side of Route 24 in West Bridgewater when the trooper's vehicle was slammed into by the Tesla.