The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a complaint report about a Tesla Model S that suddenly accelerated out of a residential driveway and onto a 4.5-foot retaining wall while the brake was fully applied. According to a news report in Motor Authority, the owner contacted Tesla about the malfunction. An engineer stated that the “accelerating pedal was stepped on and it accelerated from 18 percent to 100 percent in a split second.” The engineer also claimed that the car has a built-in safeguard that prevents the acceleration from going beyond 92 percent. The statements are, of course, contradictory.
The Problem with Tesla
The complaint was filed on September 24, 2013. The model in question was built at Tesla’s Fremont plant. NHTSA is still evaluating the validity of this complaint. If the complaint is supported by others and if the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation determined that a safety-related defect exists, then, steps will be taken to investigate the matter further. That probe could result in a safety recall.
According to the report released by NHTSA, the driver of the Tesla was going at about 5 mph down a short residential driveway. The car suddenly accelerated and hit a curb. The report states that if there is a safeguard in the vehicle, there is no way that the accelerator can go beyond 92 percent. It is unclear if there was some mechanical issue that caused the accelerator to accelerate on its own from 18 percent to 100 percent in a split second.
Dangers of Unintended Acceleration
Toyota Motor Corporation recalled more than 11 million vehicles and paid record fines to the government because it failed to divulge information about sudden acceleration issues in many of its vehicle models. Over one decade, Toyota vehicles are believed to have caused about 100 fatalities and thousands of injuries due to sudden or unintended acceleration. These auto defects are dangerous not only for vehicle occupants, but also for pedestrians, bicyclists and others on the roadway.
Tesla should certainly look into the validity of this claim and whether a recall is necessary for the safety of consumers. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a Tesla sudden acceleration issue, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours.