Tesla Asked to Recall Vehicles Over Touchscreen Safety Issue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has asked Tesla to recall approximately 158,000 Model S and X vehicles because a problem with the touchscreen could cause failure and affect occupant safety. The motion follows as an investigation by the NHTSA, which began last year.

A touchscreen error leads to the loss of the vehicle’s reversing / reversing camera and also affects the extended driver assistance system Autopilot. Various audible chimes associated with turn signals are also affected, and drivers cannot use windshield defog and defrost systems, which can impair the driver’s vision in bad weather and increase the risk of accidents. This is evident from an online letter NHTSA published on January 13.

NHTSA said it had “tentatively concluded” that a touchscreen failure “was an automotive safety-related defect,” and would like the electric automaker to recall affected vehicles.

This includes the model years 2012 to 2018 of the sedans model S and the model years 2016 to 2018 of the SUVs model X.

The government agency states that the problem revolves around the touchscreen’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and the built-in 8GB flash memory chip, according to NHTSA, which can fail when it reaches capacity, usually after about five or six years of average use.

It adds that Tesla tried to fix the problem with a number of wireless updates but labeled them “essentially inadequate”.

Last July, Tesla data showed touchscreen failure rates of up to 17.3% for the affected Model S vehicles and up to 4.1% for the Model X vehicles. NHTSA predicts failure rates will continue to rise as shown by Tesla’s projection models.

The electric automaker has until Jan. 27 to respond to NHTSA’s request and must provide “a full statement of its decision” if it does not agree with the recall request.

Digital Trends has contacted Tesla for a comment and we will update this article as soon as we receive a response.

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