Don't Test Tesla's Full-Self Driving on Children: Safety Regulators

The NHTSA doesn't want kids to be killed by Tesla owners try to prove that their cars won't hit them.

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It may sound crazy, but U.S. safety regulators don’t think you should use your kids to test Tesla’s self-driving technology. Ridiculous, I know. But, as with chainsaw warning labels that advise you not to hold the pointy end, someone out there is trying it, so now the government has to remind us not to do it.

According to Bloomberg, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it uses controlled procedures when testing vehicles and that “it could be highly dangerous for anyone to attempt to test vehicle technologies on their own.” This statement comes in response to recent tweets from Tesla owners that show a child used to illustrate the capabilities of the car’s Full Self-Driving mode.

“No one should risk their life, or the life of anyone else, to test the performance of vehicle technology,” the agency said. “Consumers should never attempt to create their own test scenarios or use real people, and especially children, to test the performance of vehicle technology.”


The agency also said that “no vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself.”

Does Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta Really Run Over Kids?

The tweets feature a 10-minute video showing the interior of a Tesla vehicle parked on a residential street as the occupant tests the self-driving mode. At one point, a child is shown standing in the street as the vehicle begins moving slowly and then comes to a stop before reaching the child.

The video came after another earlier this month that showed a Tesla car running over child-sized mannequins.

Automated-driving technology has come under scrutiny, particularly after NHTSA last year started an investigation into whether Tesla’s Autopilot is defective. The probe, which was launched after a dozen collisions at crash scenes involving first-responder vehicles, signaled a change in regulatory posture toward Tesla after years of complaints from safety advocates about the company’s marketing of its driver-assistance systems as Autopilot and Full Self Driving.


The NHTSA added it owns a 2017 Model S 90D that received a Full Self Driving Beta software that was updated on April 1st.

So... uh... yeah, I guess don’t plow your Tesla into a small child on purpose (and then put it on social media). If you do, I’ve got a feeling CPS will be stopping by sooner rather than later.