What WA Drivers Should Know About Tesla’s Giant Recall: Ensuring Safety on the Roads

In recent news, Tesla, the pioneering electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has issued a massive recall affecting over 2 million vehicles in the United States. The recall is focused on addressing concerns related to the Autopilot system, Tesla’s driving-assistance feature. As Washington drivers navigate this development, it’s crucial to understand the implications, the safety measures being implemented, and how it affects Tesla owners in the state.

The Impact on Washington Drivers

With a staggering 150,000 electric vehicles registered in Washington, the recall has significant implications for the state’s growing EV community. The ownership of electric vehicles in Washington has witnessed a sixfold increase in the past five years, with Tesla leading the pack as the most popular EV brand.

Ensuring Tesla Safety

The Autopilot system, a standard feature on all new Tesla vehicles, offers automatic steering assistance and cruise control. However, the recall highlights potential risks, especially when the Autosteer system is in use. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there’s an increased risk of a crash if drivers misuse the Autopilot system.

Tesla asserts on its website that the vehicles are safe to drive, but it acknowledges a heightened risk of collision if drivers fail to use the Autopilot system responsibly.

Understanding the Recall

The recall involves an over-the-air software update to the Autopilot system in various Tesla models produced between October 5, 2012, and December 7 of this year. Tesla owners need not schedule a service appointment; instead, they can install the update at their convenience.

The software fix aims to enhance controls and alerts, emphasizing the driver’s continuous responsibility while Autosteer is engaged. These updates include visual alerts, simplified engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, and additional checks on system engagement outside highways and near traffic controls.

Decoding Autosteer

Autosteer, a component of Tesla’s Autopilot system, provides steering, braking, and acceleration support. It is designed for use with a fully attentive driver on controlled-access highways and should not be used in conjunction with the Autosteer on City Streets feature.

It’s crucial to note that, even when Autosteer is in use, the vehicle remains non-autonomous. The driver is responsible for the vehicle’s movement and must remain attentive to surrounding road conditions.

Why a Recall Without Physical Fixes?

Despite being termed a “recall,” Tesla’s approach to resolving the issue is unique. In this case, the recall will be addressed through an automatic software update. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandates a recall when a vehicle poses an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet federal safety standards, requiring manufacturers to take corrective action.

The Trigger for the Recall

The recall follows a comprehensive two-year investigation by the NHTSA into the safety of Tesla’s driver assistance systems. With a focus on 322 Autopilot-involved crashes out of 956 initially reviewed, the investigation revealed concerns about the system’s ability to ensure drivers are paying adequate attention, leading to foreseeable misuse.

Checking Your Tesla’s Recall Status

To determine if your Tesla is included in the recall, the company provides a VIN Recall Search tool at tesla.com/vin-recall-search. This allows drivers to check if their vehicle has been affected by the recall without the need for a physical inspection or service appointment.


as Tesla takes proactive measures to address concerns with its Autopilot system, Washington drivers must stay informed. Utilizing the VIN Recall Search tool ensures Tesla owners can promptly check and address any potential risks, contributing to safer roads for everyone.

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