Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) went after Elon Musk on Thursday, demanding the Tesla owner correct false statements about the safety of the company’s vehicles.
The letter comes after a report from Reuters last week found the company knowingly deployed defective parts to customers for years, avoiding recalls and potentially putting customers at risk.
“This reporting puts your statement from January that ‘Teslas are the safest car on the road’ at stark contrast with reality,” the senators wrote. “We call on you to swiftly recall all Tesla components that pose a safety risk and correct the record with NHTSA to ensure it can properly do its job.”
The impacted parts included suspension connectors and power steering parts, which are both crucial to vehicle safety.
The investigation also found that Tesla often blamed customers for damage caused by defective parts, and attempted to mislead federal safety regulators with incomplete data.
“In light of these apparent false and misleading representations, we demand that you correct the record in every respect and that you commit to providing accurate and truthful statements in the future,” the senators continued. “The credibility and reputation of your company is at stake – and even more importantly, the safety of motorists and others on the roads.”
“As you are well aware, no company is above the law,” they warned.
Tesla has been racked with safety investigations in recent months. The company recalled most of the vehicles it has ever produced earlier this month for a digital update to its Autopilot software over claims that it is unsafe.
In July, the NHTSA questioned Tesla over a “secret” Autopilot feature allowing drivers to use the software without placing their hands on the wheel, dubbed “Elon mode” after the company’s owner — billionaire Elon Musk.
“The resulting relaxation of controls designed to ensure that the driver remain engaged in the dynamic driving task could lead to greater driver inattention and failure of the driver to properly supervise Autopilot,” the agency wrote.
The California attorney general began its own investigation into the safety of Autopilot software and Tesla vehicles in July.
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