Investigation into Tesla cars closed

Investigation into Tesla cars closed

Tesla recalled more than 15,000 electric vehicles last year to fix the problems

Federal auto safety regulators have closed a probe into more than 110,000 Tesla Model X vehicles after Elon Musk’s automaker issued appropriate fixes for faulty seat belts.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first opened its preliminary evaluation into Tesla in March 2023 after receiving two complaints from consumers alleging that front seat belts had detached while their Model X SUVs had been moving. Some months later, Tesla said it had received 12 additional warranty claims related to the seat belts.

In July 2023, Tesla recalled more than 15,800 Model S and Model X vehicles and said service personnel would replace or re-secure the affected parts of the seat belts. As of a month earlier, the Austin, Texas-based automaker had updated its procedures to prevent further issues, according to NHTSA documents.

The probe’s closure is the second ended by the regulator in recent weeks.

On April 26, the NHTSA ended its nearly three-year investigation into Autopilot, which included an analysis of 956 crashes. In 467 of those incidents, the agency determined that Tesla’s software didn’t sufficiently require the driver’s attention, even as it made drivers more confident, which led to at least a dozen crashes.

The Autopilot driver assistance technology has been linked to more than 200 crashes and 29 deaths. The NHTSA has opened more than 50 special crash investigations into Tesla vehicles thought to be linked to Autopilot.

However, even as the NHTSA closed that inquiry, it opened another. The regulator is probing the company’s recall of more than 2 million electric vehicles — which make up nearly all of Tesla’s vehicles on the road in the U.S. — in December. The NHTSA said it had identified concerns with the Autopilot software fix issued to those vehicles. Tesla has been given a July 1 deadline to respond to questions posed by the NHTSA regarding the recall.

The NHTSA has also opened a series of probes into other company’s burgeoning driver assistance technology. Ford Motor Co.’s BlueCruise is being investigated after two fatal incidents earlier this year. Amazon-owned Zoox is being probed after two incidents in which its vehicles suddenly braked, causing rear-end collisions and minor injuries. And Google-backed Waymo is being investigated after the NHTSA was notified of 22 incidents in which the startup’s self-driving cars either potentially violated traffic safety laws or caused a collision.

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