‘Fun police’ made Elon Musk carry out latest Tesla recall

Musk has repeatedly clashed with US regulators, directing much of his ire at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. — AFP

Elon Musk apparently isn’t pleased with pressure the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put on Tesla Inc to conduct its 11th recall in the US in just over three months.

Asked by a Twitter follower on Saturday what the rationale was for recalling a feature called Boombox, which enabled people to play sounds through an external speaker of their vehicle, Tesla’s chief executive officer replied: "The fun police made us do it (sigh).”

Tesla told NHTSA on Feb 4 that it would disable Boombox when its vehicles are in drive, neutral or reverse, to comply with a safety standard requiring electric cars to emit sounds that alert pedestrians. In its recall report, the company said NHTSA asked for information in January 2021 to investigate whether the feature complied with the safety standard. Tesla decided to conduct a voluntary recall after months of back-and-forth with the agency, according to the report.

Tesla shares fell as much as 3.1% to US$833.66 (RM3,490) before the start of regular trading Monday. The stock has declined 19% this year.

Many clashes

Musk has repeatedly clashed with US regulators, directing much of his ire at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He has said he does not respect the SEC and came up with derisive and profane plays on the agency’s initials since it charged him with securities fraud over his August 2018 claims about taking Tesla private.

In April 2018, Musk hung up on the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board over a dispute related to a fatal crash involving a Tesla that was operating on Autopilot.

NHTSA opened a defect investigation into Autopilot in August, saying it would assess the technologies and methods Tesla uses to monitor and assist drivers and enforce their engagement with the system. The probe was precipitated by roughly a dozen incidents in which Teslas on Autopilot collided with vehicles at crash scenes, including first responders.

Weeks after NHTSA opened the investigation, Tesla deployed an over-the-air update to its cars aimed at improving their detection of emergency vehicles and neglected to file a recall notice. NHTSA asked the company whether it intended to file a safety recall, and if not, to provide technical and legal justification.

At the same time, NHTSA scrutinised Tesla’s plans to expand the availability of Full Self-Driving, or FSD, the controversially-named suite of features that still require fully attentive drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Two of the 11 recalls Tesla has filed since October were related to FSD.

NHTSA’s actions suggest regulatory pressure is rising on technology that Musk has said played a critical role in making Tesla the world’s most valuable automaker. The CEO tweeted in September that investors were giving the company "significant credit” for its self-driving capabilities. – Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Tech News

ECB steps in as banks dip toes in crypto pool
Crypto broker Genesis taps insider as interim chief, cuts jobs by 20%
Exclusive-World Bank's IFC taps blockchain for carbon offsets
Donald Trump’s angry words online spur warnings of real violence
TikTok to clamp down on paid political posts by influencers ahead of U.S. midterms
WhatsApp rolls out new native Windows client, with Mac version in the works
Tencent unveils first sales fall, job cuts as economy crumbles
Airbnb is rolling out new screening tools to stop parties
Boeing, Northrop to join White House-backed advanced manufacturing program
US immigration advocates sue LexisNexis over personal data

Others Also Read