US authorities face petition to recall all Tesla

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

A petition filed by a Greek engineer and accident investigator is urging the US authorities to recall all Tesla vehicles due to a technical fault that could cause accidents. The petition claims that Tesla vehicles have the ability to shift from Drive to Reverse without touching the brake pedal, which could lead to unintended acceleration or deceleration.

The petition was submitted by Costas Lakafossis, who is based in Athens, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 13, 2023. Lakafossis is an expert in vehicle safety and accident reconstruction, and has been involved in several high-profile cases involving Tesla vehicles.

According to Lakafossis, Tesla vehicles have a feature called “Smart Shift”, which allows the driver to change gears using a touchscreen or voice commands, without having to press the brake pedal. Lakafossis argues that this feature poses a serious risk of driver confusion and error, especially in emergency situations.

Lakafossis cites several examples of Tesla accidents that he claims were caused by the Smart Shift feature, such as a case in California where a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a parked fire truck, injuring four people. Lakafossis says that the driver accidentally shifted from Drive to Reverse while trying to avoid the fire truck, causing the vehicle to lose control.

Lakafossis also points out that Tesla vehicles do not have a mechanical linkage between the gear selector and the transmission, which means that there is no physical feedback for the driver when changing gears. He says that this makes it harder for the driver to verify the gear position and correct any mistakes.

Lakafossis is asking the NHTSA to investigate his claims and order a recall of all 1.6 million Tesla vehicles sold in the US since 2012. He says that he is not against Tesla or its innovations, but he is concerned about the safety of the drivers and the public.

“I am not turning against Tesla. I am a fan of their technology and their vision. But I am also a professional engineer and an accident investigator, and I have a duty to report any safety issues that I find. I believe that Tesla has made a serious mistake with their Smart Shift feature, and they need to fix it before more people get hurt,” Lakafossis said.

Tesla has not yet responded to the petition or commented on its allegations. The NHTSA has not confirmed whether it will launch an investigation or take any action on the petition.

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