Friday, 01 October 2021 15:29

Tesla’s Safety Score System Could Result in Unsafe Driving: Consumer Reports

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati


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Tesla’s Safety Score system may be designed to encourage drivers to operate their vehicles in a very cautious manner, but according to Consumer Reports, the newly-introduced metric could actually make the roads less safe.

While the gamification of safe driving behavior could work, the magazine argued Tesla’s Safety Scores could also incentivize drivers to cheat the system to gain a high rating. 


Kelly Funkhouser, head of automated and connected vehicle testing at Consumer Reports, noted when she and her team tested the Safety Score system on their Tesla Model Y, they constantly ended up exceeding the metric’s “Hard Braking” metric. Avoiding such hard braking scenarios resulted in Consumer Reports’ testers coasting through an intersection or failing to come to a complete stop for a pedestrian. 


“The problem is that Tesla appears to be using some of the wrong metrics. Without more context, the data Tesla is collecting and scoring could create bad incentives,” Funkhouser said. 


Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center, added the gamification of the Safety System could bring some positive benefits, and it could motivate drivers to adopt good driving habits.


Fisher, however, said gamification also has a “dark side,” observed by researchers at Ohio State University. When teachers at the university added gamification to the classroom, the students ended up being more likely to cheat to win rewards. 


The same could happen to Tesla’s Safety Score, according to the CR auto test center director. With the Safety Score system the way it is today, drivers may simply end up...

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