Tesla faces criminal charges over accidents involving driver assistance system
Elon Musk's company is facing criminal charges. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating more than a dozen accidents involving Tesla cars in which the autopilot function was activated at the time of the accident.
Here's What We Know
U.S. government agencies and private car owners have often accused Elon Musk's company of improperly advertising Full Self-Driving (FSD) and Autopilot features. In their opinion, advertising of the systems can mislead customers by not informing them that Autopilot and FSD do not allow the car to do without a driver.
Annotations have now appeared on Tesla's website stating that the Autopilot features do not make the company's cars fully autonomous. The manufacturer warns drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the car while using autopilot.
The Justice Department investigation potentially represents a more serious level of scrutiny because of the possibility of criminal charges against Tesla or individual executives. Sources familiar with the investigation told CNBC.
Justice Department prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are looking into whether the company misled customers, investors and regulators by making unconfirmed claims about the capabilities of its driver assistance technology. There is no word yet on how the investigation will conclude. Officials could either shut it down or file criminal charges.
Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney in Detroit, said investigators would have to find evidence to prove that Tesla and Elon Musk intentionally misled about the capabilities of the Autopilot feature. This could be, for example, emails.