Tesla Model X seat belt probe officially closed by U.S. regulator

Credit: Tesla

After a U.S. auto safety regulator launched a preliminary investigation into the Tesla Model X and its seat belts last year, and a following recall, the agency has formally concluded the probe as of this week.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Monday that it closed its preliminary probe of 50,000 Model X units with potential front seat belt issues, after the company and agency issued a recall applying to about 16,000 affected Model S and X units last July. The agency also says that it will take further action on the issue if it needs to in the future.

“In its recall filing, Tesla stated that effective June 22, 2023, it had updated procedures requiring a first-row seat belt to be disconnected from- and reconnected to- its pretensioner anchor to include additional visual aids to assist technicians and require a pull test-step to confirm that the seat belt was reconnected to the pretensioner anchor to specification,” wrote the agency on Monday.

“In view of the recall action and process updates taken by Tesla, ODI is closing this PE. The agency reserves the right to take additional action if warranted by future circumstances.”

In the original probe, the NHTSA detailed two complaints the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received about front seat belt failures from Model X owners. Upon opening the recall, the agency said that Tesla Model S and X units would simply need the front seat belt pretensioner anchor to be disconnected and reconnected or would need the entire assembly replaced.

Fatal traffic incidents dropped in the U.S. in 2023: NHTSA

Multiple other NHTSA probes into Tesla’s vehicles have been closed in recent weeks, including one with an issue causing the loss of a rearview camera display, as well as another into the company’s Autopilot system, which faced a recall in December requiring certain text in the UI to be made larger. Tesla rolled out an immediate software update to fix the issue, though many outlets latched onto the fact that the recall applied to over two million vehicles—despite being for such a small issue.

Despite closing the Autopilot investigation, the NHTSA has also requested additional information about the system from Tesla, asking the company to respond by July 1. The information is mostly relating the the number of hands-on-wheel warnings a driver receives when using Autopilot, as well as “design decisions regarding the company’s decision to increase the strictness of driver attentiveness requirements when approaching traffic controls off-highway.”

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Tesla Model X seat belt probe officially closed by U.S. regulator
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