The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday that it is discussing Tesla’s decision to replace cameras in some US vehicles with the company.
Tesla was replacing front fender cameras in several hundred Model S, X, and 3 vehicles due to faulty circuit boards inside, according to CNBC, but no recall had been issued.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “The public is urged to notify NHTSA if they believe their vehicle may have a safety defect that isn’t part of a current recall,” according to the agency, which is “monitoring all data sources,” including consumer complaints.
The agency said it has “robust enforcement tools to protect the public, investigate potential safety issues, and act when we find evidence of non-compliance or an unreasonable risk to safety,” as well as “robust enforcement tools to protect the public, investigate potential safety issues, and act when we find evidence of non-compliance or an unreasonable risk to safety.”
According to consumer advocacy groups, the regulator should investigate whether Tesla should have recalled the defective parts.
“Reports of a service campaign to repair malfunctioning front-end cameras that are critical to Tesla’s driver assistance suite are significant enough to warrant further investigation by NHTSA,” says the agency “The executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, Jason K. Levine, stated.
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“The truth is that the auto industry has a long history of opting for service campaigns over recalls, but it’s too early to say whether that will be the case in this case.”
According to David Friedman, a former acting administrator at NHTSA and now Vice President at Consumer Reports, a malfunction of front fender cameras, safety systems used for blind-spot monitoring, would likely pose a safety risk.
“If people lose reliable access to blind spot images, or if the effectiveness of autopilot or automatic emergency braking is hampered,” he said, “the malfunction would appear to pose an unreasonable risk.”