Teslas With Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Crashed 273 Times In Under A Year

Tesla may soon come under further U.S. federal government scrutiny and enforcement for crashes involving its vehicles. 

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Figures from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that Tesla cars got into 273 crashes in less than a year, potentially related to its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features. If the EV makers’ features were activated at the time of the crashes, they would be responsible for about 70% of a total 392 Level 2 advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) equipped vehicle crashes. 


The reporting period tracked crashes from July 2021 to May 2022.


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Honda was a distant second in the total number of crashes with 90. These crashes are categorized based on what driving automation system was reported as being equipped on the vehicle, not on whether the ADAS was engaged at the time of the incidents.


Furthermore, the data is inconsistent across automakers. According to NHTSA, Different reporting entities may have different levels of access to information from crashes involving vehicles they manufacture due to differences in vehicle technology, the ADS or the Level 2 ADAS. For example, some entities may have access to detailed vehicle and crash data immediately after a crash, because the vehicles supply instantaneous telematics, while others may only learn of crashes from consumer complaints submitted days or weeks afterwards and which may include limited crash information. This means that an entity with better data collection capabilities could potentially have more incident reports simply because they are aware of more incidents. 


In addition, entities subject to the General Order manufacture and/or operate different types of vehicles with different capabilities in various locations. Many factors, including the number of vehicles, miles traveled, access to crash data, operating locations, among others can and likely would affect the validity of comparisons of crash data between entities.” 


The NHTSA report doesn’t specifically cite defects with Tesla Autopilot and FSD, but serves to provide notice to the automaker of potential defects “that can assist in evaluating the safety of these vehicles.”, according to NHTSA.


Is Tesla the only company being investigated for ADAS crashes?


No, Tesla is not the only company being investigated for its ADAS. This notice applies to other automakers who are subject to NHTSA’s General Order.


What are the consequences for Tesla if Autopilot and FSD are found to be defective?


According to NHTSA, Tesla can be subjected to civil penalties. The penalties can range from $24,423 per violation per day, up to a total of $122,106,996 for a series of violations. NHTSA cold also refer the issue the U.S. Department of Justice for civil action to force Tesla to comply with NHTSA’s enforcement actions under its General Order. 

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