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California Bill Says Tesla Can’t Call Cars ‘Full Self-Driving’

A Tesla vehicle in a parking lot after arriving at the port of Yokohama, Japan. (Toru Hanai/Bloomberg News)

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Tesla, which has fully self-driving software, reportedly injured 18 people after eight cars collided on the Bay Bridge on Thanksgiving and the car came to a sudden stop. , effectively banned from advertising as fully self-driving cars in California. This will be done under new legislation signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom during this legislative session.

Senate Bill 1398, one of hundreds of new state laws to take effect in 2023, specifically targets electric car makers to sell the software included in some Tesla models.

A new law sponsored by Senator Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach (D-California) will allow California dealers and manufacturers to classify cars with only partially self-driving features that require a human being as self-driving. “Falsely naming or selling” is prohibited. Pay attention to the driver and handle the driving.

State motor vehicle departments that regulate self-driving cars already have rules banning false advertising of self-driving cars. However, Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Times in August that the DMV’s lack of enforcement power prompted her and state legislators to push forward with legislation to put the rule into state law.

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The bill “will improve consumer safety by requiring dealers and manufacturers selling new passenger vehicles with semi-autonomous driver assistance features to clearly explain the features and their limitations,” Gonzalez said. said in a statement when the bill was drafted. pass through parliament. Gonzalez could not be reached for comment on December 22.

Elon Musk-owned Tesla lobbied against the bill, claiming it made Tesla buyers aware of the limitations of fully self-driving software.

California’s new law doesn’t address the safety aspects of Tesla software, but it’s the latest example of legislators, regulators and consumers rejecting advertising they claim is deceptive and misleading. .

Tesla drivers filed a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court in September against the company, alleging that the company has falsely advertised its self-driving software since its debut in 2016.

Waymo, one of the companies the state allows to test and operate self-driving cars, will be banned in 2021 for confusing drivers with Tesla ads, according to a legislative analysis of California’s new law. We stopped describing our cars as self-driving.

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