Editorial Calls for Tesla to Follow Same 'Self-Driving' Testing Rules as Everyone Else

While dozens of companies are following state-mandated regulations for autonomous vehicle testing, Tesla has managed to avoid the same rules. It's time for regulators to step in, according to the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board.

2 minute read

December 22, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Tesla

Tinxi / Shutterstock

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times calls on state and federal authorities to step in to regulate Tesla's 'self-driving' vehicles, which have managed to evade DMV regulations during testing and deployment thanks to the company's claim that the "full self-driving mode" is "intended for use with a fully attentive driver who has their hands on the wheel." Meanwhile, Tesla's marketing and claims from its own CEO give consumers the impression that the cars can indeed drive themselves with little or no human intervention. To date, Teslas using the company's earlier Autopilot function have killed one person and injured 17 others.

While Tesla follows the Silicon Valley ethos of 'move fast and break things,' dozens of other companies experimenting with self-driving technology on California roads are following a reasonable set of rules. They must have a trained and certified test driver behind the wheel and send the DMV regular reports on crashes as well as incidents in which the human driver had to take over to avoid a crash.

According to a California DMV spokesperson, "Tesla informed the agency that 'Full Self-Driving' cars are in a different category, known as 'level 2,' that incorporates more common driver-assistance tools like automatic steering and cruise control but still require attention from a human driver."

The op-ed argues that the company can't have it both ways: Tesla's vehicles should be forced to follow the same rules as everyone else before more people are injured or killed.

Monday, December 20, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

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