Tesla owner files proposed class action lawsuit over phantom braking

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to investigate claims of phantom braking in Tesla vehicles, one owner is taking matters into his own hands and suing the automaker over the issue.

Jose Alvarez Toledo of San Francisco filed his lawsuit against Tesla in federal court in the northern district of California on Friday. Toledo proposes a class action lawsuit for all owners and lessors of Tesla vehicles that have suffered from phantom braking.

Phantom braking is the term used to describe when a Tesla vehicle suddenly, and apparently for no reason, brakes while on Autopilot, a behaviour Toledo describes in his lawsuit as “frightening” and “dangerous”

“When the sudden unintended braking defect occurs, they turn what is supposed to be a safety feature into a frightening and dangerous nightmare,” said Toledo’s lawsuit.

Toledo accuses Tesla of “fraudulently hiding the safety risks associated with Autopilot, breaching its warranties, unfairly profiting from Autopilot and violating California’s unfair competition law,” reports Reuters.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for expenses to repair the vehicles, diminished value of Tesla cars, and for a refund of the added cost attributed to Autopilot, a feature which is standard on all Tesla vehicles.

In February the NHTSA launched an investigation into phantom braking after receiving 354 complaints from owners. In the following months after the investigation was announced, that number rose to 758, leading to the agency requesting more information from Tesla on the issue.

This isn’t the only potential class action lawsuit Tesla is facing. An owner in Illinois is suing the automaker over what he says are false Forward Collision Warnings that are negatively impacting his Safety Score, and as a result his Tesla Insurance premiums.


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