Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) defends claims regarding the safety of the Model 3. According to Reuters, the governmental agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has warned Tesla from making potentially misleading statements. Documents also show that the agency issued at least five subpoenas since earlier last year, attempting to gather information about crashes of Tesla’s vehicles.
NHTSA regularly collects data about potential safety issues from manufacturers. “NHTSA is committed to rigorous and appropriate safety oversight of the industry and encourages any potential safety issue be reported to NHTSA,” the agency claimed in a statement,
NHTSA claims that the electric car manufacturer made claims that the 5-star rating of the Model 3 make it the “safest vehicle”. Tesla responded, saying the company’s claimed that the car was engineered “to be the safest car ever built” with the lowest probability of injury.
Jonathan Morrison, NHTSA’s chief counsel, wrote in an Oct. 17 letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk warning, “against comparison statements like these because such statements mislead consumers about the relative safety of different vehicle models… 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.”
“Any regulator like NHTSA would be interested in new vehicle technologies and how they make our highways safer,” Tesla said in an emailed statement according to Bloomberg. “We routinely share information with the agency while also balancing the need to protect customer privacy. Tesla has required subpoenas when customer information is requested in order to protect the privacy of our customers.”