Tesla Recall Disables Boombox Feature, Which Doesn’t Meet Pedestrian Safety Standards

Tesla issued a recall and a software update for over 578,000 Model S, X, Y, and 3 vehicles because a novelty function may drown out or interrupt pedestrian warning sounds that are required by federal regulations.

The recalled vehicles are equipped with Tesla’s Boombox function, which the automaker’s website advertises as allowing drivers to “delight pedestrians with a variety of sounds from your vehicle’s external speaker.” Tesla’s website also warns drivers that they should check local laws before using this function.

However, since 2018 federal safety regulations have required that hybrid and electric vehicles play warning sounds at low speeds to alert pedestrians to their presence. If the sounds a driver chooses to play through the Tesla’s external speaker do not meet standards set forth by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Boombox feature would be in violation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 141.