Tesla phantom braking complaints result in NHTSA investigation

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has its eyes on Tesla yet again, this time over concerns of phantom braking in some Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Last month we told you about an increased number of phantom braking complaints being reported to the safety agency. A total of 107 owners had complained between November and January, compared to 34 complaints in the 22 months prior to that.

That number has now ballooned to 354 complaints over the past nine months, according to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI).

As a result ODI is “opening a Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assesses the potential safety-related issues.”

ODI says the investigation was launched on February 16, 2022 and will cover an estimated 416,000 2021-2022 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

“The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 354 complaints alleging unexpected brake activation in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. Received over the past nine months, the reports have often been characterized as “phantom braking” by consumers. Tesla describes the subject vehicles as equipped with a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features referred to as Autopilot which Tesla states will allow the vehicle to brake and steer automatically within its lanes.”

The notice also described the issue as follows:

The complaints allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds. Complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive cycle.

According to NHTSA data, there have been no reported crashes, injuries, or fatalities linked to phantom braking.

This investigation is just the latest example of a renewed interest in Tesla by the NHTSA.

In the last month alone the agency has issued recalls for Boombox, a seat belt chime, a rolling stop feature in FSD Beta, heat pump issues, while also requesting more information regarding in-vehicle gaming.

You can read the full notice below.

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