NHTSA identifies complaints of sudden acceleration in Tesla vehicles due to driver error

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) reports involving four different Tesla models that were due to user error.

Shortly after Brian Sparks asked the agency to recall all Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles built during or after 2013, along with 14 other complaints and all available fault data, NHTSA began investigating the claims in January.

The NHTSA is rejecting Sparks’ petition to officially review and possibly recall 662,109 vehicles, after the NHTSA Defect Investigation Office has now determined that all the accidents involving the SUA that Sparks cited were due to the driver.

The report stated. “There is no evidence that the design factor contributes to an increased likelihood of pedal misuse. The theory presented on a possible electronic cause of SUA in subject vehicles is based on imprecise assumptions about system design and log data.” The report also included “there is no evidence of any error in the throttle assemblies, engine control systems, or brake systems that contributed to any of the aforementioned accidents.”

Last January, the company said, “We are investigating every incident in which the driver claims that their vehicle has accelerated contrary to what they presented, and in every case where we had data on the car, we confirmed that the car was working as designed.”

“In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if the driver tells it, to do so, and decelerates or stops when the driver applies the brakes,” the company described.

Tesla had previously denied the allegations, calling the petition “completely false” and describing Sparks as a Tesla short seller. The NHTSA investigation confirmed Tesla’s findings.

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