New California law effectively bans Tesla from advertising its cars as ‘Full Self-Driving’

Dan Smith

              But starting next year, Tesla will effectively be banned from advertising its vehicles as fully self-driving under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom during this legislative session.

Senate Bill 1398, one of hundreds of new state laws coming into effect in 2023, specifically targets electric car makers to sell the software included in some Tesla models. A new law, backed by Long Beach Democratic Senator Lena Gonzalez, would allow dealers and manufacturers in California to label self-driving cars as "fraudulent" if they are loaded with only partial automation features that human drivers need to pay attention to. It is prohibited to name or sell handle 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. “[The bill]would increase 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 in a statement. The bill passed Congress. Gonzalez could not be reached for comment on Thursday. 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, alleging that Tesla 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. I stopped writing self-driving cars. Ricardo Cano is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ByRicardoCano