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NHTSA Announces Investigation after Tesla Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced early today that it would investigate Tesla’s Model S electric car to determine whether it is particularly vulnerable to fire because roadway debris can come into contact with and slice the car’s underbody and battery. This announcement comes on the heels of two reported fires–one in Seattle and one in Tennessee–that occurred after the drivers struck objects in the roadway. In both of those cases, the objects penetrated the bottom of the car, created a hole in the battery, and sparked fires. Both drivers were alerted by their vehicles that there was a problem and both were able to safely escape.

The investigation will have an impact on more than 13,000 Tesla 2013 model cars sold in the U.S. Tesla has sold around 19,000 of its cars worldwide. The batteries in the cars are located underneath the passenger compartment and are protected by a metal shield. If the batteries sustain damage, that can lead to sparking and starting of a fire. The NHTSA investigation could ultimately lead to a recall, but that decision will take months to make.

The Model S sits only six inches off the ground, but there are cars with lower clearances, including the Mercedes CLA Class at 3.9 inches and Dodge Charger at 5 inches. According to Tesla’s website, the Model S automatically lowers itself another inch while driving at highway speeds. A software change was made to allow for more ground clearance when traveling at these higher speeds. The cars are set to get another software change in January in which the driver will gain increased control over the air suspension ride height. Tesla also added fire damage to its warranty coverage.

US safety agency opens probe into Tesla fires, November 12, 2013

There are nearly 200,000 vehicle fires each year on U.S. roadways. Approximately 300 individuals are killed and 1,250 are injured in these fires each year. The Coral Gables product liability lawyers at the Friedland | Carmona understand how important vehicle safety is for consumers. Drivers must have access to safety information about the vehicles that they choose to purchase and feel safe in those vehicles as they operate them about the roadways. All too often, defects in automobiles that create safety issues are not found until it is too late. The Miami Beach personal injury lawyers have dedicated over twenty years to helping their clients recover compensation for injuries suffered as a result of a malfunctioning part in an automobile. If you or a loved one has been injured in an unsafe vehicle, call a Fort Lauderdale consumer advocate today at (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation. Don’t hesitate, call today!

The Miami automobile accident lawyers at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries.

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