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Blumenthal & Markey Joint Statement on Reported DOJ Investigation Into Tesla's Misleading Advertising of Driving Automation Systems

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following joint statement after reports of an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into whether Tesla misled consumers, investors, and regulators by making unsupported claims about its Full-Self Driving (FSD) system’s capabilities:

“We have long sounded the alarm about Tesla’s misleading marketing practices, which overstate the real capabilities of its vehicles and put drivers and the public at grave risk. We are encouraged by the reports that the Department of Justice is investigating these issues. We will continue pressing for oversight of Elon Musk and Tesla to avert driver confusion and prevent deadly crashes—and for accountability if any misconduct is uncovered.”

Blumenthal and Markey have long pushed for autonomous vehicle (AV) technology safety. In August 2021, Blumenthal and Markey sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calling for the agency to launch an investigation into Tesla’s advertising of driving automation systems. The full text of the letter can be found here. In February 2022, Blumenthal and Markey sent a letter to Tesla Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk following numerous reports of dangerous braking flaws in Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self Driving systems and amid several federal safety investigations, voicing serious concerns with the implementation of the company’s technology. The full text of the letter to Musk can be found here. In June 2022, Blumenthal and Markey issued a joint statement applauding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for upgrading its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system from a preliminary evaluation to an engineering analysis after identifying additional crashes at first responder sites.