KEY POINTS

  • NHTSA is evaluating complaints filed by Tesla drivers of sudden unintended acceleration
  • Cases of sudden unintended acceleration are not only limited to Tesla vehicles other brands were subjected to NHTSA investigations in the past
  • Tesla has not yet made any comment about the petition

Over 100 Tesla electric vehicles available in the market have been involved in accidents due to unintended acceleration, according to a complaint filed to the federal safety regulators. On Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is still deliberating on whether to launch an investigation. Independent Investor Brian Sparks filed a petition to the NHTSA and its Office of Defects Investigations to look into claims of drivers, reports CNBC.

The petition includes the Tesla Model S model year 2012 to 2019, Model 3 model year 2018 to 2019, and Model X model year 2016 to 2019. Additionally, it cites 52 injuries, 110 crashes, 123 unique vehicles, and 127 consumer complaints. The parties involved in the complaint were not revealed. 

Most of these complaints include incidents involving parking and pulling the car out of the parking space. NHTSA says it is looking into the allegations. NHTSA has not yet decided whether there is enough evidence to launch a defect investigation. 

Elon Musk says Tesla plans to establish a 'China design and engineering centre' Elon Musk says Tesla plans to establish a 'China design and engineering centre' Photo: AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN

The petition alleges that the vehicles in question have a defect. Tesla vehicles could cause sudden unintended acceleration, which could result in crash or injury, the petition says. The NHTSA is open for those who would like to request for an investigation on the safety defect of all vehicles in the market. 

However, the agency’s decision to launch an investigation depends on the result of the technical analysis conducted by its Office of Defects. Over the years, a number of Tesla owners crashed their vehicles while using Autopilot, with some others getting killed. Tesla has repeatedly said that drivers using Autopilot are much safer than those who do not. 

The Department of Transportation and the NHTSA receive countless complaints of potential unintended acceleration incidents not only in Tesla but also in other vehicles. In the 2000s, Toyota and Lexus were subjected to evaluation, CarsAndDrivers. It was conducted to determine if defects in the electrical system caused sudden acceleration and eventually crashes. 

Several incidents that drivers attribute to unintended acceleration are discovered to be caused by driver errors. Tesla vehicles, particularly some variant of Model 3, feature newer techs. This includes an advanced driver assistance system and Autopilot. Innovations like these allow Tesla vehicles to go from 1 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Tesla has not yet made any statement related to the said petition.