Tesla’s Autosteer technology is software that was developed to help cars stay in their lanes. After the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (‘NHTSA’) analyzed Tesla’s crash data comparison in vehicles before and after Autosteer enabling, Tesla touted NHTSA’s findings that Autosteer increased vehicles’ crash safety by 40%.
Recently it has come to light that those numbers may not be accurate and the NHTSA’s study was flawed and based on incomplete data. Car collision attorneys at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg have watched these revelations unfold and they have concerns about how it all happened and that consumers may have been misled.
Timeline of events
See below for a timeline of events that led up to this apparently flawed reporting.
- Tesla voluntarily provided data to the NHTSA related to its Autosteer technology and car accidents.
- In January 2017, NHTSA reported safety findings from their Office of Defects Investigation using the data that Tesla provided and concluded that Tesla’s Autosteer technology had reduced accident rates by 40%.
- Tesla touted those findings that their vehicles with Autosteer were 40% safer.
- In 2018, NHTSA slightly backed away from those findings and said the 40% statement was a preliminary conclusion.
- Quality Control Systems (‘QCS’), an analysis firm, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the actual data that the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation used to reach their 40% safer conclusion.
- Tesla objected to their request providing that the data they submitted to the NHTSA was a trade secret.
- QCS was forced to sue for violations of FOIA when NHTSA did not turn over records citing Tesla’s trade secret claim.
- Eventually, NHTSA was forced to turn over the data to the QCS, and then the world learned that according to QCS, the data was improperly analyzed leading to an inaccurate conclusion regarding Autosteer’s impact on Tesla car accidents and safety.
QCS studied the data and concluded that out of the data submitted for over 43,000 Tesla vehicles and used by NHSTA for its safety analysis, only 5,714 of those vehicles were actually qualified for a before and after Autosteer comparison. The rest of the approximately 37,000 vehicles had incomplete data, which did not allow for an accurate or fair analysis. QCS further found that data appeared to show an almost 60% increase in accidents in the 5,714 qualifying vehicles after Autosteer was enabled, but apparently, there is reason to think that those findings may not be accurate based on some issues with the data presented.
It is concerning if these NHTSA safety numbers are as grossly inaccurate as we are now led to believe they are. Consumers have bought Teslas with Autosteer assuming that they are significantly safer than they now appear to be and they may have relied too much on this technology. It is certainly something to consider when looking at some of Tesla’s more notorious accidents due to Auto steering errors.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or an auto-steering error, contact our experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to discuss the facts of the accident and the injuries sustained.