Tesla Under U.S. Scrutiny Over Safety Claims

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Cease-and-desist: Elon Musk, Tesla slammed by federal regulator for safety claims

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tesla past year for not complying with the agency's guidelines in its Model 3 safety assertions and subpoenaed the carmaker for information on several crashes, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. This report comes just one day after correspondence between the NHTSA and Tesla showed that the NHTSA served tesla with a cease-and-desist letter over Tesla's claims that it's Model 3 vehicles was the safest auto in the world.

NHTSA said the October 17 letter its guidelines warn against comparison statements because they mislead consumers about the relative safety of different vehicle models.

Tesla shares fell as much as 2.1% to $225.80 shortly after the open of regular trading Wednesday.

It is not clear from the documents if NHTSA or the FTC are pursuing action against Tesla at this time.

"To say that Tesla's midsize sedan has a lower probability of injury than, say, a larger SUV could be interpreted as misunderstanding safety data, an intention to mislead the public, or both", he added. The agency is planning to report Tesla to the FTC consumer division to investigate any false claims made by the company. The NHTSA website shows nothing less than a five-star rating for all Tesla vehicles. The NHTSA, however, is none too pleased with how Tesla chose to articulate and spin the test results to the public.

The electric carmaker's signature vehicle received a 5-star safety rating from the agency.

The Model 3 scored five stars in ANCAP testing, with a 94 per cent score in the safety assist category equalling the firm's best-ever.

Although technically and factually Tesla is correct, NHTSA claims that their safety ratings are being taken out of context.

NHTSA told Musk this wasn't the first time Tesla violated its guidelines for using the federal crash test data in marketing or advertising.

In May, Tesla said its vehicles were 10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas auto. "It is impossible to say based on the frontal crash results or overall vehicle scores whether the Model 3 is safer than other 5-star rated vehicles".

Tesla did not immediately respond on Thursday to its requests for comment, the newswire said.

Safety groups have criticized Tesla for being unclear about the need for "hands-on" driving with its autonomous driving feature.

A Tesla spokesman pointed at the company's letter to NHTSA on October 31, 2018, where the company's deputy general counsel Al Prescott said: "Tesla's statement is neither untrue nor misleading".

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