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Tesla recalls 579,000 U.S. vehicles over pedestrian warning risk sounds

NHTSA said the vehicles fail to comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard on minimum sound requirements for EVs.

Tesla will perform an over-the-air software update that will disable the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral and Reverse modes. Many of Tesla’s recent recalls have been to address software issues.

Tesla said it was not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to recall.

After Tesla introduced “Boombox” in December 2020, NHTSA issued an information request in January 2021, the automaker said. That was followed by a number of virtual meetings on the issue over subsequent months.

In September, NHTSA upgraded an investigation into the issue, Tesla said. In October Tesla defended tests and rationale used to determine Boombox’s compliance. Tesla agreed to a recall after two days of meetings last month.

Boombox uses the Pedestrian Warning System speaker and users can customize sounds.

Under rules mandated by Congress, automakers must add sounds to EVs when they are moving at speeds of up to 18.6 miles per hour (30 km per hour) to help prevent injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and the blind.

EVs are often harder to hear at lower speeds than gasoline-powered engines. At higher speeds, tire noise, wind resistance, and other factors eliminate the need for alert sounds, NHTSA said previously.

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