Tesla Recalls 54,000 Models Over 'Rolling Stops'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Tesla is recalling 54,000 cars equipped with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software over a feature that allows vehicles to roll through stop signs under the right conditions.

While technically still in beta and incapable of legitimate (SAE Level 5) self-driving, the software suite has been a premium item on Tesla products for years. Introduced in 2016, FSD was originally a $3,000 addition to the company’s $5,000 Autopilot system and allowed customers to financially embrace the promise of total automotive autonomy that’s supposedly forthcoming. Features have improved since 2020, when the public beta was officially launched, however the company has remained under criticism for failing to deliver the goods. Among these were allegations that the latest version of FSD allowed vehicles to conduct rolling stops through some intersections. The issue resulted in the public flogging of Tesla online and subsequent recall.

The automaker has continued to make FSD increasingly expensive and has taken flak for effectively testing features on its own customers. In 2021, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chastised Tesla’s usage of FSD and Autopilot after numerous fatal accidents — advising the automaker to incorporate more driver-monitoring protocols and remove some of the existing features. Tesla complied, stating that future vehicles would utilize in-cabin cameras and remove some functions that were being beta tested.

Though the entire issue seems like a quagmire. Regulators pushing for the enhanced surveillance of motorists and stripping Tesla products of features is no more appetizing than paying for a “Full Self-Driving” system that’s still in development and just had its price raised to $12,000 (or $199 per month if you go the subscription route). Still, Elon Musk has framed it as a relative deal by claiming it’ll someday be worth $100,000 and warned prices will continue to climb as FSD nears completion.

This time the NTSB took a back seat while the automaker dealt with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which notified Tesla that it’s illegal to have vehicles rolling through stop signs. It took a couple of meetings, according to the relevant documents, but regulators managed to get the company to plot a recall for a feature originally released in October of 2020.

Having never considered allowing a vehicle to drive on my behalf at low speeds and being generally averse to self-driving tech, I’ve never bothered to test the “rolling stop” feature. But its supposed to allow FSD-equipped vehicles using Autopilot to squeak through 4-ways, provided the vehicle believes the intersection is clear and the vehicle is traveling below 6 mph.

Obviously, this is illegal in most places and Tesla is now having to issue an over-the-air update that removes the feature from an estimated 53,822 vehicles. This includes the 2020-2022 Model Y, 2017-2022 Model 2, and 2016-2022 Model X and Model S. The manufacturer has said it was unaware of any crashes or injuries relating to the feature as of January 27th, 2022.

Tesla will perform an OTA software update that disables the “rolling stop” functionality, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed out on March 28, 2022. Owners may contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla’s number for this recall is SB-22-00-001. Additionally, concerned parties can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or hit up its website for additional information. Just be sure to have your VIN handy.

[Image: Virrage Images/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 02, 2022

    First of all, I got super-confused because I read this right before I got here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/02/02/tesla-phantom-braking/ Rolling stops will eventually be a thing when more vehicles are automated. It's convenient for 'rich' people, and it saves energy (good for the planet). [Also your vehicle will selectively run red lights, but I don't want to freak you out right now.]

    • Stanley Steamer Stanley Steamer on Feb 02, 2022

      When I was a kid I dreamed that one day self driving cars would make stop lights obsolete. It still might be possible if one day full FSD reaches 100% market saturation across all makes and models.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Feb 02, 2022

    So Tesla wants its' cars to emulate the humans who drive them? Their new motto: more human than human. youtube.com/watch?v=UzcoU85mXIA

  • 28-Cars-Later I thought today's young people weren't even getting licenses to drive, so which is it?
  • 28-Cars-Later Either last year or the year before I was discussing how The Dytopia™'s BEV schemes do not scale simply because the existing grid cannot generate enough power to replace ICE and the gigantic investment necessary in the grid was not forthcoming (Zelensky needed another house in Miami Beach after all you b!gots). So it struck me the only path to sort of do it is natural gas which became abundantly cheap 15 years ago because of fracking. Fast forward to more recently and surprise surprise we're attacking civilian use of natural gas out of nowhere for very little benefit. I couldn't find any good data to break down natural gas consumption between industrial use and civilian use, but spitballing I'd say the two largest chunks would be power generation and heating followed by small slices for other industrial use and home appliances- the latter probably being 5% or less (on my own gas bill its about 3-10% for the non furnace gas use depending on laundry loads). Some argued The Dystopia wanted to take away any energy freedom the proles have outside of electricity which they control on their whims, but I'm thinking that small number is optimal for them to take back because it doesn't force any additional infrastructure cost to gain (i.e. the low hanging fruit). As more power plants are spun up I expect a slow consolidation away from civilian nat gas because ManBearPig or whatever other fairy tale, but its really to power the gilded electronic cage they are constructing out of this once great nation. Seriously, break this down:Self lubricating Diesel engine with conventional OTS components, built for more than a ten year lifespan and 1m or more miles of use which can quickly be refueled at hundreds of locations (or fuel be brought to them). Pure BEV with some large amount of rare earths with a ten (?) year lifespan and perhaps 1m miles use but which has an avg daily downtime of 2 hours (?) to refuel and must be powered by a limited number of natural gas stations at static points (theoretically you could put a diesel fuel depot anywhere must faster and refill it with trucks). Other than ManBearPig fiction, your only savings in emissions is whatever the DEF isn't catching now (which is up to 90% in civilian diesel use per JLR) minus whatever emissions sins the nat gas burning creates. Think about how ridiculous all of this is to save 10-20% of emissions of only heavy trucks (BEV ships aren't ever going to be a thing) and you still have to frack like mad to have the natural gas to do it which would create the diesel in the first place. What is the nonsense?
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The only vehicle from Chi-nah I'd be interested in would be a LR Defender or MB G-Wagon knock off with Chinese uniqueness.
  • FreedMike I'd be willing to look at a Chinese built car if Chinese companies were building them domestically.
  • SCE to AUX Hydrogen is the worst 'green' fuel there is - highly inefficient to produce, troublesome to distribute, and extremely expensive.