Tesla unintended-acceleration claims get safety agency’s attention

The Tesla Model S, along with the Model X and Model 3, is named in the petition asking U.S. safety regulators to open a defect investigation.
(Tesla Motors)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is evaluating allegations that Tesla Inc. vehicles contain a defect that can cause sudden unintended acceleration, according to a notice posted on the agency’s website.

The review was prompted by a petition asking the agency to open a defect investigation of some 500,000 Tesla vehicles over the alleged flaw, the agency said.

The petition cited 127 consumer complaints to the agency and claims of 110 crashes and 52 injuries. Vehicles involved were the Model S and Model 3 sedans and the Model X SUV.

After a technical review, NHTSA can either deny the petition or grant it and open a formal probe of the alleged issue. Any member of the public can petition NHTSA for a defect investigation, and many have been rejected by the agency.


“As is the agency’s standard practice in such matters, NHTSA will carefully review the petition and relevant data,” the agency said in a statement.

NHTSA said in October that it would evaluate a separate petition alleging Tesla updated battery management software in response to a potential defect that could lead to fires.