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Feds Investigate Elon Musk’s Tesla over Steering Wheels that Freeze Up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of steering control loss in 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, potentially affecting approximately 280,000 vehicles.

The Verge reports that claims of loss of steering control in Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles are being investigated by the NHTSA, potentially affecting about 280,000 vehicles. The investigation comes after the NHTSA received 12 complaints alleging loss of steering control and power steering in the vehicles.

Five individuals filed complaints alleging an inability to steer the vehicle, while seven others reported a loss of power resulting in steering difficulties. One complaint detailed the situation, stating, “Vehicle steering lost power steering and the steering is stuck in straight position only while driving. Vehicle can travel only straight line forward or backward and cannot turn. Powering off and on did not help resolve the issue. Had to get the car towed to Tesla service.”

This is not the first time Tesla has come under scrutiny for vehicle defects. The company is currently subject to several other defect investigations, including one looking into reports that steering wheels on Model Y SUVs have fallen off while the vehicle was being driven. Additionally, NHTSA has received over 800 reports of “phantom braking” problems, leading Tesla to issue an over-the-air software update to 1.1 million vehicles in China in response to a braking and acceleration problem.

Although the latest investigation is over hardware problems, Tesla’s “self driving” technology has more than its own share of problems. Internal leaks have revealed the astonishing extent crashes related to Musk’s “Autopilot.”

The Washington Post reports that Tesla’s Autopilot system has been linked to 736 crashes and 17 fatalities in the U.S. since 2019, causing the safety of the company’s driver-assistance technology to be seriously questioned.

The information has sparked a discussion about the safety of autonomous driving technology because it reveals a significant rise in accidents and fatalities linked to Autopilot over the previous four years. There have been 17 fatal incidents associated with Autopilot, 11 of which have happened since May 2022, up from three that were documented in June 2022.

In one serious incident, Tillman Mitchell, a 17-year-old boy, was struck by a Tesla Model Y while it was allegedly in Autopilot mode as he stepped off a school bus. The car never slowed down. It struck Mitchell at 45 mph. According to Mitchell’s great-aunt, Dorothy Lynch, the teenager was thrown into the windshield, flew into the air, and landed face down in the road. Mitchell survived the crash but suffered from memory issues, a broken leg, and a fractured neck.

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