Tesla is recalling more than 817,000 vehicles in the United States because seat belt reminder chimes may not sound when the vehicles are started and the driver has not fastened their seat belt. The recall covers the 2021 and 2022 Model S sedan and Model X SUV, as well as the 2017 to 2022 Model 3 sedan and the 2020 to 2022 Model Y SUV, according to documents released Thursday by safety regulators. Federal motor vehicle safety laws require the chimes to sound when the vehicles are started and the sound to stop when the front seat belts are buckled.
Recall documents issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that the issue only occurs if the driver exited the vehicle during the previous drive cycle while the chime was sounding.
Tesla will address the issue by sending out an over-the-air software update earlier this month. The safety agency says that without the chime, a driver may not know their seatbelt is unbuckled, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
The company says in the documents that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries due to the issue. A visual seat belt reminder is always displayed.
The problem was discovered by South Korea’s Automotive Testing and Research Institute on January 6. Tesla investigated and determined a recall was necessary on Jan. 25, the documents show.
The chime will still sound if vehicles are traveling over 22 kilometers per hour and the driver’s seat belt is not fastened.
The U.S. recall is the largest in the history of the Austin, Texas-based company, and comes as the company faces increasing scrutiny from NHTSA, the national agency. road safety.
The agency said this week that Tesla would recall nearly 54,000 cars and SUVs because their “Full Self-Driving” software allows them to drive through stop signs without coming to a complete stop.
Recall documents released Tuesday say Tesla will disable the feature with a software update. The “rolling stop” function allows vehicles to pass through intersections with stop signs in any direction at up to 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) per hour. The feature would work as long as the owner chose to activate it and the car did not detect any “relevant” moving cars, pedestrians or cyclists.
Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software is tested by select owners on public roads. He cannot drive himself and the company warns that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.
NHTSA is also investigating a driver’s complaint that “Full Self-Driving” software caused an accident in California.
It also investigates why Tesla cars using the company’s less sophisticated “Autopilot” driver assistance system have repeatedly crashed into emergency vehicles parked on the roads.
The most recent recall covers all four models in its lineup. Motorintelligence.com estimates show that Tesla has sold just over one million vehicles in the United States since 2013.