— A Tesla automatic emergency braking class action lawsuit alleges vehicles equipped with Autopilot suffer from phantom braking incidents which cause sudden unintended braking.
According to Tesla, automatic emergency braking is designed to detect objects the car may impact and "applies the brakes accordingly.”
The Tesla class action lawsuit includes:
“All persons or entities in the United States that purchased, lease, leased, own or owned a Tesla Vehicle that suffers from the Sudden Unintended Braking Defect.”
At the least, the class action involves the 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2021-2022 Tesla Model Y.
California plaintiff Jose Alvarez Toledo filed the lawsuit by alleging he ordered a new 2021 Tesla Model 3 in November 2020 which was delivered to him in January 2021. The plaintiff alleges his Tesla on two occasions suddenly engaged the brakes and reduced his speed by about half.
The lawsuit doesn't say if the plaintiff took his Model 3 to Tesla for diagnosis or repairs. However, the plaintiff claims his Tesla now has a significantly diminished value.
The plaintiff asserts Tesla has known about emergency braking and Autopilot problems for years but has refused to recall the vehicles or offer suitable repairs. In fact, the class action lawsuit alleges Tesla knew about the automatic emergency braking issues even before the vehicles were put on the market.
According to the plaintiff, Tesla concealed how automatic emergency braking functions. However, the plaintiff also says a "hidden disclaimer" in the owner's manual references how the system works.
“Several factors can affect the performance of Automatic Emergency Braking, causing either no braking or inappropriate or untimely braking, such as when a vehicle is partially in the path of travel or there is road debris. It is the driver’s responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times. Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision.” — Tesla Model 3 owner's manual
The class action lawsuit says Tesla never referenced or directed buyers to read "this hidden disclaimer."
But even if an owner saw the disclaimer, the plaintiff alleges, "the disclosure is too vague, cursory, and non-specific to adequately warn anyone about the true scope and extent of the dangers of the Sudden Unintended Braking Defect."
The Tesla automatic emergency braking class action lawsuit further says the feature is supposed to be for safety but instead scares drivers to death when the vehicle suddenly brakes while driving.
Tesla Automatic Emergency Braking Complaints
According to the class action, Tesla owners have filed hundreds of complaints about automatic emergency braking problems which got the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In February 2022, NHTSA opened an investigation into Tesla phantom braking incidents after 350 complaints were filed about 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles which suddenly applied their brakes for no apparent reason.
Then in May, NHTSA sent Tesla a letter regarding 758 phantom braking complaints about Tesla's vehicles that suddenly braked without any forward objects or obstacles in the roads. The letter requested specific details from Tesla regarding the automatic emergency braking systems.
The class action alleges Tesla refuses to repair the vehicles even when they are under warranties, intentionally transferring repair expenses to Tesla customers.
The Tesla automatic emergency braking class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Jose Alvarez Toledo v. Tesla, Inc.
The plaintiff is represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A.