Tesla Rear Light Recall Raises Doubts Over Fatal Crashes

A recall of more than 320,000 vehicles has been order in the US over concerns that rear lights may intermittently fail to shine.

The recall, reported by Reuters, may also raise questions over several fatal crashes in China where owners report brakes failing to work while footage reveals no brake lights illuminating at the time of the crashes. This at a time when a criminal trial is underway in South Korea over the death of a prominent lawyer killed when a Tesla Model X crashed into a parking lot wall in 2020. The driver facing trial claims the car sped out of control of its own volition and then the brakes failed to work immediately before the crash, Reuters reports.

This latest recall follows that of 30,000 Model X cars in the US over an issue that may cause the front passenger air bag to deploy incorrectly. In the filing published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the EV manufacturer said the rear light-related recall covers some 2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles. Tesla said it will deploy an over-the-air update to correct the rear light issue and said it has no reports of any crashes or injuries related to the recall.

The company said the recall followed customer complaints it became aware of in late October, largely from foreign markets, claiming vehicle rear lights were not illuminating. An investigation found in rare cases the lights may intermittently not work owing to an anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake-up process. Tesla said it had received three warranty reports over the issue. NHTSA data reveals that the automaker has reported 19 US recall campaigns in 2022 involving more than 3.7 million vehicles including four recalls in November alone.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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