Tesla is recalling 578,607 vehicles in the United States because of a vehicle defect where pedestrians may not be able to hear a required warning sound of an approaching car due to loud music or other sounds played by its “Boombox” feature.
According to a Reuters news report, Tesla has issued 10 U.S. recalls just over the last four months including four in the last two weeks. The automaker has said it was not aware of any crashes, injuries, or fatalities related to the vehicle alert issue that spurred this latest recall.
Warning Sound Defect Recall
Tesla is recalling some 2020-2022 Model S, Model X, Model Y, and 2017-2022 Model 3 vehicles because the Boombox function allows sounds to be played through an external speaker while the vehicle is in motion, and that may obscure the required Pedestrian Warning System sound. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said they fail to comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard on minimum sound requirements for electric vehicles.
As part of this recall, Tesla will perform an over-the-air software update disabling the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral, and Reverse modes. This should make the warning sound system work properly. Tesla has been under scrutiny recently for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driver-assist features as well as an in-vehicle game system. Last month, after pressure from NHTSA, Tesla agreed to recall 135,000 vehicles with touchscreen displays that could fail.
In the most recent recall, Tesla introduced Boombox in December 2020. NHTSA upgraded an investigation into the issue. Electric vehicles are usually more difficult to hear at lower speeds compared with gas-powered engines. Federal rules require automakers to add sounds to electric vehicles when they are moving at speeds of up to 18.6 mph to help prevent collisions and injuries involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and the blind. NHTSA has said that at higher speeds, tire noise, wind resistance, and other factors rule out the need for a warning sound.
While there is no safety issue for vehicle occupants here, there are still some serious public safety concerns. If pedestrians or bicyclists are unable to hear an approaching vehicle, it increases the risk of a serious injury collision. The lack of a warning sound is a vehicle design issue that has the potential to cause major injuries or fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other vehicle defects, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.