Tesla’s controversial hands-free driver-assistance system is the subject of yet another safety recall. In November, the automaker had to recall nearly 12,000 cars after a software update affected some of the cars’ forward-looking safety systems. Now, Tesla wants to recall 53,822 cars to remove a “rolling stop” feature that flouts traffic laws.
The issue affects Models 3, Y, S, and X running firmware 2020.40.4.10 or newer and participating in the “full self-driving” beta program. This software allows selectable moods for the car’s driving style—chill, average, and assertive. And it’s the last of those that’s the problem.
In assertive mode, if a Tesla approaches a four-way stop intersection at less than 5.6 mph (9 km/h) and it detects no other road users or pedestrians near the intersection, it will carry on traveling at that speed instead of coming to a complete stop at the stop sign.
Tesla first released the rolling stop function in October 2020. But in January of this year, it met with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration twice, deciding to issue the recall suspending the law-breaking feature the day after the second meeting.
Tesla’s 2021.44.30.15 firmware will disable the rolling stop ability. The automaker told the NHTSA that the update would begin being pushed out to cars in early February 2022.
The NHTSA is currently conducting two investigations into Tesla’s software features. In August 2021, the agency began looking at Tesla crashes involving the Autopilot driver-assistance system and emergency vehicles. In December 2021, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation opened a second investigation into Tesla’s (now disabled) “Passenger Play” feature, which allowed games to play on the infotainment screen while the car was being driven.