On Wednesday TMC member Ying, shared his story of how he went onto a curb and hit an office building in his Tesla because of “sudden unintended acceleration”. Ying explained, “I was pulling in to my office parking spot where I parked for 6 years, I let the car slow to roll closer in front of the curb. All of a sudden the car accelerated, got on the curb, hit the office building. The car was still going until I applied the brake.”
NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) estimates there are 16,000 “preventable crashes caused by pedal error” due to the driver’s fault. In other words, people mistakenly push the accelerator when they intended to press the brakes.
In the discussion that ensued from Ying’s post on TMC, Jason Hughes (wk057) shared his insights into the matter. Jason runs HSR Motors where he provides used Tesla drive units, battery modules, chargers and other parts. He’s one of the premier tinkerers of Teslas and has managed to hack into much of Tesla’s software in the car.
Jason made an offer to Ying as he has to other cases where people were trying to blame Tesla for user error issues. “My offer is always the same: You provide me access to the vehicle, I’ll pull the logs and parse the relevant data. I’ll then share the results, regardless of what they end up revealing, with you, Tesla, your insurance company, and I reserve the right to post the data wherever else it may be relevant.”
Surprisingly not many have taken Jason up on his offer as he notes “thus far only one person decided to take me up on this, then got cold feet at the 11th hour thinking it’d be best not to do so. I’m reasonably certain that these people just didn’t want to have confirmation that they’d screwed up.”
Jason also asserts the following:
Every case of “sudden unintended acceleration” with a Tesla is driver error. Period. There is no way for the vehicle to accelerate on its own like people claim. It’s also always pedal misapplication, too, where the driver presses the accelerator when they should be braking. Almost always cases where the car is slowing to a stop, then “suddenly” accelerates (because the driver hit the accelerator instead of the brake at the time they would be hitting the brake to stop the car).
I’ve pulled logs from at least two cars that, when looking back at news and posts, claimed unintended acceleration. The logs in both cases clearly showed the driver applying the accelerator pedal at the time of the accident. Electrek did an article about this: Several Tesla owners claim Model X accelerated/crashed on its own but everything points to user error
He goes on to explain why “sudden acceleration” is always driver error. “The vehicle logs the outputs of both hall effect sensors in the accelerator pedal independently. They both must match their respective output curves during a go-pedal press in order for the car to respond to a request for acceleration. If anything is off, the car doesn’t move. If one sensor goes out, the car will operate in limp mode with drastically reduced torque. Suffice it to say, there quite literally is no way for a Tesla Model S/X/3 to do what people claim without the driver pressing the accelerator pedal.”
In other words, Tesla vehicles can only accelerate if the accelerator’s sensors are shown to be pressed by the driver since there is no other way for the car to accelerate.
In every single case of supposed “unintended sudden acceleration”, Tesla is able to pull the car’s logs and in every case the driver can be found to be pressing the accelerator and not the brake.