Tesla S Falls Short of Luxury Rivals on Tougher Safety Test – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/business/tesla-s-safety-test.html?ref=oembed
In 2013, the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed that the Tesla’s Model S electric sedan was very safe, allowing Tesla to claim that it had the best safety rating ever. Tesla has been able to claim that the company produces the safest vehicles, but after a recent safety test done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a more uncompromising safety test, that changed. Tesla did not receive any of its safety awards.
In this case, what’s hard to judge can be where the truth is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed that the Tesla S was one of the safest cars; Tesla spread the news proudly. After Tesla had received the unremarkable review from the Insurance Institutes, they made several modifications and when they are tested by the Insurance Institutes, they expect to receive the highest possible ratings.
This seems fishy because the safety testing organizations are saying different things. Though this can obviously be different standards, aren’t there rules and regulations to what is considered “safe”? How can one organization claim the Tesla S is one of the safest cars ever tested and the other claim that it should not receive safety awards? On top of that, Tesla continues to claim that its car has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the National Highway test. That seems like it would not do the company any good after the stricter Insurance Institute proved otherwise. That could be heard as Tesla disregarding the more difficult safety test.
Morally, regardless of which safety test is more accurate, I think that Tesla has a responsibility to the public to recognize if its cars are safe cars to purchase. To me, this is a case of negligent obedience. Tesla is attempting to be morally optimal to what works best in its favor and is providing due care when it is necessary. For instance, Tesla claimed to be the safest and then when the higher standards arose, they made modifications and claimed again that they are the safest. Ethically, there should be transparency between any company and the public. Not that Tesla was being untruthful, but there was only a problem when someone else pointed it out to them.