NHTSA rebuffs Tesla’s ‘safest’ claim for Model 3

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Tesla says in a blog post that it has designed the Model 3 to be «the safest car ever & # 39; and claims that the tests from NHTSA show that it has the lowest risk of injury from all cars that the security agency has ever tested & # 39; Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration takes an exception to the typing of the agency's safety assessments by Tesla Inc.

Tesla Inc. released on Sunday. a long blog post that said the Model 3 has been designed as "the safest ever-built car" and that the NHTSA tests show that it "has the lowest risk of injury to all cars that the security agency has ever tested "."

But in a statement Tuesday, NHTSA said that its crash tests combine into an overall safety rating and that it does not rank vehicles that score the same ratings.

"A 5-star rating is the highest safety rating a vehicle can achieve," the agency said in the statement, in which Tesla was not mentioned. "NHTSA makes no distinction between safety performance beyond that assessment, so there is no safest vehicle among those vehicles that achieve 5-star ratings."

Tesla & # 39; s Model 3 received five-star ratings for frontal and side impact tests, rollover prevention and overall. The 2018 Ford Mustang, Honda Accord, Subaru Impreza and Legacy and Toyota Camry also scored five stars in these categories in the latest series of agency tests.

NHTSA guidelines for using crash test results in ads and communications warn that using terms like & # 39; safest & # 39; and & # 39; perfect & # 39; to describe a particular assessment or an overall score is misleading.

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Companies that make claims about NHTSA crash tests can land in hot water with other authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission. The NHTSA guidelines warn that the agency may refer "incorrect or incorrect qualifications of NHTSA crash tests" to other federal or federal agencies.

NHTSA published a similar statement in 2013 when Tesla said that its Model S had a vehicle safety rating equal to 5.4 stars.