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Braking Point: NHTSA reaches final phase of Tesla investigation

Washington, D.C — Investigations by the NHTSA are rarely a good thing for a manufacturer, especially when recalls become more likely.

The NHTSA has formally upgraded its investigation to an “engineering analysis,” assessing 830,000 Tesla vehicles for phantom braking problems. This is the second, and final step taken before a recall is issued.

Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys have been under investigation since February this year, when the NHTSA received 354 complaints claiming their autopiloting vehicles randomly and rapidly decelerated within singular drive cycles. Since then, the number has increased to 758 reports by May.

Beyond autopilot phantom braking, the automated system was involved in 16 incidents in the last four years where Teslas crashed into parked first-responder vehicles, alongside another 106 collisions.

According to the Register, 86 percent of drivers in these cases had their hands on the wheel which suggests that driver negligence, inadequate regulations or faulty autopilot are all possible explanations.

If initiated, a recall would affect nearly 1 million Tesla vehicles worldwide.

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