Pump the Brakes: NHTSA seeks information from Tesla in wake of ‘phantom braking’ concerns

Washington, D.C. — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given Tesla until June 20 to respond to a list of questions the traffic authority has in regard to the OEM’s “phantom braking” complaints.

According to a letter from May 4, NHTSA is investigating 758 reports of unexpected brake applications in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Address to Tesla’s field quality director and signed by the chief of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) warns that the OEM could face penalties of up to US$24,423 per day and other actions if it does not respond “promptly and fully.”

In February 2022 NHTSA began its preliminary investigation involving 416,000 vehicles. The traffic authority had received 354 consumer complaints that Tesla vehicles had activated brakes in unnecessary circumstances.

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

According to Reuters, Tesla has dismissed concerns, saying the braking is normal.



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