Tesla drivers in the U.S. had a higher rate of accidents compared to drivers of other vehicle brands in the past year, as per a recent study conducted by LendingTree, analyzing data from 30 automotive brands.
The research, based on insurance quotes from individual vehicle owners, omitted incidents related to rental cars. It noted challenges in pinpointing why certain brands exhibited higher accident rates but suggested that certain vehicle types might attract riskier drivers.
During the period between mid-November 2022 and mid-November 2023, Tesla drivers recorded the highest accident rate in the U.S., with 24 accidents per 1,000 drivers. Following Tesla were Ram drivers involved in around 23 accidents and Subaru drivers in about 21 accidents per 1,000 drivers.
In contrast, drivers of Pontiac, Mercury, and Saturn vehicles experienced fewer than 10 accidents per 1,000 drivers during the study period.
Additionally, the study revealed that BMW drivers had the highest incidence of driving under the influence (DUIs), with approximately 3 DUIs per 1,000 drivers annually—approximately twice the rate of DUIs among Ram drivers, the second highest in this category.
When considering overall driving incidents, including accidents, DUIs, speeding, and other citations, Ram drivers exhibited the highest incident rate, while Tesla drivers ranked second in the U.S.
Such incidents can result in increased insurance rates for drivers, with speeding tickets potentially causing a 10% to 20% hike, accidents around a 40% increase, and DUIs potentially leading to a surge of 60% or more in insurance rates.
The study's findings coincide with Tesla's Autopilot software recall in the U.S., affecting around 2 million electric vehicles. Tesla's vehicles are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as Autopilot, with more advanced driver assistance packages available for purchase. Despite claims made by CEO Elon Musk about Autopilot's safety benefits, independent verification of these claims has not been permitted by Tesla.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a two-year investigation into Tesla's Autosteer feature, part of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD), citing safety defects potentially increasing collision risks. While Tesla disagreed with NHTSA's findings, it initiated a voluntary software recall, pledging safety enhancements to Autosteer through over-the-air updates.
Tesla declined to comment on the LendingTree study and the potential reasons behind the higher accident and incident rates among Tesla drivers in the U.S. over the past year.
---------This article is partly excerpted from CNBC.