Transport Canada vs NHTSA: Tesla recalls its indicator icon recall

Tesla has issued a second over-the-air (OTA) recall to change their indicator icons in Canada, reverting a change they made earlier this year due to differences between Canadian and US regulations.

Back in February the National Highway Traffic Safety Administation (NHTSA) forced Tesla to issue an OTA recall because the font size used for their park, brake, and anti-lock braking system (ABS) indicator icons was too small. To comply with the regulations, Tesla changed their icons, removing the symbols and using the actual words PARK, BRAKE, and ABS in a larger font.

Tesla made this change in both the US and Canada, however Transport Canada disagrees with the NHTSA, and has forced Tesla to issue another OTA recall to revert back to the original icons.

In the recall notice posted to the Transport Canada website this week, it says the agency requires visual warnings to use common symbols, instead of words, to avoid driver confusion. As a result, the original icons are being brought back, and are included in software release 2024.3.25, 2024.14.5, or a release later than 2024.14.5.

Transport Canada added that even though there is a low risk to safety, they are still requiring the change to comply with Canadian regulations.

Here’s a comparison of all the indicator icons, with the two different version for park, brake, and ABS.

We first reported this OTA recall on our X account on Friday, and there were a number of comments wondering why Transport Canada would require icons, when the plain words by themselves are easier to read.

While this might be true for a lot of people, studies that show that symbols are more easily remembered than words with the same meaning. It is likely also the case that Canada’s status as a bilingual country requires icons, instead of only words in English.

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