New California Law Won't Allow Tesla to Advertise its Vehicles as Capable of 'Full Self-Driving'

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Image: David Zalubowski (AP)

Tesla has been in a bit of hot water as of late, regarding its claims of “full self-driving,” on its vehicles. The truth is, Teslas do not have the capabilities of full self-driving. We even outlined guidelines of how we would refer to the company’s claims of the tech back in the spring of 2021 to relay that fact. But that hasn’t stopped Tesla drivers from using it, and the subsequent accidents and deaths where the technology has been said to be involved have gotten the attention of the industry, media and lawmakers. Enough that California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a law that will ban Tesla and other automakers from advertising level 2 driver assist systems as “full self-driving.”

 The San Fransisco Chronicle reports that bill 1398, backed by State Representative Lena Gonzalez (D- Long Beach), covers a broad swath of implementation, targeting both dealers and manufacturers, and prohibits them from “deceptively naming or marketing” vehicles with autonomous technology. It also lays out that a dealer or manufacturer must explain the limitations if such a system is equipped on the vehicle:

This bill would require a dealer or manufacturer that sells any new passenger vehicle that is equipped with a partial driving automation feature, as defined, or that provides any software update or vehicle upgrade that adds a partial driving automation feature, to provide the buyer or owner with a consumer notice that describes the functions and limitations of those features.

While the state’s DMV already had rules for autonomous vehicle regulation and self-driving tech advertising, Rep. Gonzalez felt that more needed to be done since the DMV didn’t seem to enforce its own rules. Of course, the bill had its proponents, namely Elon Musk. He attempted to lobby against the bill with The Chronicle saying Tesla already makes customers aware of the system’s limitations.

The bill is set to go into effect in early 2023.


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