CAS Analysis Shows Tesla (Joshua Brown) & Jeep Shifter (Anton Yelchin) Deaths Lie at NHTSA’s Feet

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CAS Analysis Shows Tesla (Joshua Brown) & Jeep Shifter (Anton Yelchin) Deaths Lie at NHTSA’s Feet

July 15, 2016

The tragic deaths of Anton Yelchin and Joshua Brown due to faulty electronics must be placed squarely at NHTSA’s feet.  In its zeal to advance vehicle electronics, NHTSA has forgotten it is a regulatory agency to ensure vehicle safety, not a promotional agency to foster the development of vehicle technology.

Yelchin’s death is due to NHTSA creating a huge loophole in 1999 in FMVSS 102 governing transmission shift mechanisms.  Brown’s death is due to NHTSA’s failure to issue a FMVSS for self-driving controls and allowing Tesla to beta test an autopilot system using consumer as test drivers on public roads, something that has never before been done in NHTSA’s history.

Congress intended that compliance with the federal rules would both regulate and stimulate new technologies.  Today’s NHTSA has abandoned the regulatory side for the stimulation side at the expense of safety.  By issuing interpretative rules as it did on electronic shifters for BMW and not issuing Safety Standards as it did on self-driving vehicles, NHTSA created safety loopholes that inevitably led to the deaths of Joshua Brown and Anton Yelchin.

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Click here to view the CAS Letter to NHTSA Administrator Rosekind

Request for Comments, Transmission Shift Lever Sequence – 6/4/1998

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Comment – 8/19/98

NHTSA Response to BMW Request for Interpretation, FMVSS 102 – 9/25/98

Withdrawal of FMVSS 102 Rulemaking – 11/15/1999