Fact Check: Feinstein Letter Conflates Teslas and Autonomous Vehicles
Senator calls on NHTSA for additional AV oversight
Sep 24, 2021

On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calling for additional federal oversight of the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, conflating Tesla’s flawed driver assistance software with autonomous vehicles. The letter appropriately questioned Tesla’s inaccurate marketing of its “Full Self Driving Capability,” but incorrectly cited Tesla’s crashes with emergency vehicles as evidence of flawed AV technology.

“Teslas just aren’t AVs, period,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “AVs have the potential to reduce traffic fatalities and increase mobility for seniors and disabled people. Mixing up the two could set a life-saving industry back.”

From Sen. Feinstein’s letter to NHTSA:

As has been widely reported by CNN, the New York Times, and CNET, Teslas are not autonomous vehicles. For more details on the differences between Teslas and AVs, check out Chamber of Progress’s post, Tesla’s Cars are Beautiful — But They Aren’t Actually Self-Driving.


Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.

Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.