Tesla is now recalling 578,607 vehicles in the United States due to a problem where pedestrians may not be able to hear a required warning sound of an approaching electric vehicle.
The Tesla “Boombox” feature, which allows drivers to play music and customizable sounds over external speakers, could drown out the Pedestrian Warning System signal. Both systems use the same external speaker, Fox News reports.
The Pedestrian Warning System emits a sound to warn pedestrians of an approaching electric vehicle and is an important safety measure for pedestrians, cyclists, and those who are vision impaired.
The company is recalling 2020-2022 Model S, Model X, Model Y, and 2017-2022 Model 3 vehicles for this malfunction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that Tesla failed to comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard on minimum sound requirements for electric vehicles.
Tesla will disable the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in drive, neutral, or reverse, using an over-the-air software update. Most of the recent Tesla brand recalls have been due to software issues.
Tesla first introduced the “Boombox” feature in December 2020. The NHTSA requested more information on the feature in January 2021, and in September 2021, the NHTSA began an investigation into the issue. In October, Tesla defended Boombox’s compliance, citing the company’s testing. Ultimately, Tesla agreed to the recall after meeting to discuss the issue last month.
“While the Boombox and the pedestrian alert sound are mutually exclusive sounds, sounds emitted using Boombox could be construed to obscure or prevent the PWS from complying with safety standards,” the NHTSA said.
Tesla has recently come under increasing scrutiny from the NHTSA. The company has issued ten recalls in the U.S. over the last four months, including four in the last two weeks. The most recent recall included 26,682 vehicles for a software problem that caused the defrost to be less effective in extremely cold weather. Previously, Tesla has come under fire for the “in-vehicle gaming feature” that allowed games on the heads-up display to still operate when driving. Tesla has since fixed this issue.