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NHTSA Sees a Spike in Tesla Owners Filing Complaints

January 24, 2023

According to a news report published on, Tesla owners are filing more complaints than ever with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The report claims that Tesla owners "filed a record number of complaints for the 2023 model year alone." The complaints involved its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta, the removal of the ultrasonic sensors, and phantom braking issues. These issues also directly impact drivers' safety and those sharing the road with these potentially dangerous motor vehicles, according to an NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation Preliminary Evaluation

There are approximately 850,000 Tesla vehicles on the road, which is tens of thousands more than its competitors. Tesla fans claim their Tesla vehicles offer the best advancements in EV technology. However, safety advocates and some owners are now claiming Tesla's build quality is lacking. Tesla has recently slashed its new car pricing but has maintained their electric vehicles are luxury vehicles. The owner complaints also allege that Tesla's "build quality is far from matching the price."

Owners also have a hard time discerning whether or not Tesla's build quality has declined when searching forums discussions. Some Tesla owners tend to focus only on the facts that they see appropriate to their beliefs. However, government statistics are factual, and right now, there are more complaints being filed with the NHTSA than ever before. Most of the complaints concern Tesla's "Forward collision avoidance" system. These complaints describe "phantom braking" events while their Tesla is driving on FSD Beta or Autopilot. This is a significant safety concern, especially as NHTSA has opened up 15 fatal accident investigations concerning Tesla's Autopilot. 

Comparing the Tesla Model Y with Toyota Camry vehicles, 2020-2023 Tesla Model Y had 1,222 complaints, while the Toyota Camry had less than 150 complaints. Tesla's 2023 Model 3, which is similar to the Model Y, had 14 complaints on file with the NHTSA. Like the Model Y, a majority of Tesla Model Y owners complained about phantom braking.

According to the report, Tesla has been quickly rolling out its FSD Beta program. Especially after the State of California filed a lawsuit alleging Tesla misrepresented its FSD technology to Tesla purchasers. This means the safety concern of phantom braking will put more drivers at risk of an accident, such as the massive pileup accident that occurred in San Francisco caused by a Tesla issue. 

Did you or a loved one sustain an accident injury? 

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.