More than 50,000 Tesla owners woke up on Wednesday to find that their vehicle is being recalled over concerns about its self-driving feature.
It took nearly a year for the proverbial shoe to drop for the automaker after federal regulators began a probe into the feature’s safety. Only months ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked why the company failed to initiate a recall in response to its vehicles' tendency to hit vehicles that have flashing lights or are near scenes with flares, road cones, and illuminated arrow boards.
The recall affects four Tesla models – the S (2016-2022), X (2016-2022), 3 (2017-2022), and Y (2020-2022) – that have the beta version of the "full self-driving" software turned on. The specific feature pinpointed in the recall is the "rolling stop," which permits a vehicle that is in Full Self-Driving Beta mode to drive through a four-way-stop at up to 5.6 mph. The NHTSA stated that "entering an all-way-stop intersection without coming to a complete stop may increase the risk of collision."
In a perfect world, Tesla’s Autopilot is supposed to perform operations like changing lanes, assisting with parking, preventing crashes, and recognizing street signs and emergency warning lights. Tesla has tried to warn owners that Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability are intended for use only with a fully attentive driver – one who has their hands on the wheel and is ready to take over at any moment – but that warning has not always been heeded.
What Tesla owners can expect from the recall
The 53,822 Tesla owners who take part in the recall won’t need to go to an actual dealer. Rather, the automaker will facilitate the recall electronically via software released over the internet.
Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on March 28, 2022. Owners may contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla's number for this recall is SB-22-00-001.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov for more information.