February 29, 2024

A survey of 30 car brands shows Tesla cars had the worst accident rate in the US this year, with 24 accidents per 1,000 drivers. The only other brands with more than 20 accidents per 1,000 drivers were Ram and Subaru.

The survey, conducted by online lender LendingTree, used insurance data to analyze the likelihood of risks in four categories: accidents, driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIs), speeding, and citations. (The citation category includes violations for recklessness, improper lane usage, lack of insurance, or lack of indicator or brake lights.)

Across all categories, “Tesla had the second-worst drivers in the nation, with 31.13 driving incidents per 1,000 drivers,” compared to 32.9 incidents per 1,000 drivers of Ram vehicles, the report concluded. Subaru (30.09), Volkswagen (27.92) and Mazda (27.74) rounded out the top 5 for driving incidents overall. Mercury drivers have the lowest incident rate of the brands studied.

Accidents, DUIs

While the report offers little explanation as to why Tesla drivers are prone to accidents, it notes that “certain types of vehicles attract riskier drivers than others.” Accident statistics data shows that speeding, impairment and distracted driving are among the main causes of car accidents.

BMW drivers had the highest DUI rate by a wide margin: 3.13 DUIs per 1,000 drivers, which is nearly twice the rate of DUIs among Ram drivers (1.72). Mitsubishi (0.89) and Volvo (0.92) had the lowest DUI rates.

Tesla has had low ratings on the road

The study comes after a previous study by JD Power indicated that Tesla owners give their vehicles low scores for long-term reliability, due to faults.

Earlier this year, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) start investigating Tesla’s 2023 Model Y SUV after owners raised issues with its steering wheel. In two reported incidents, the wheels came loose while the vehicle was being driven; the agency said the issue could have affected as many as 120,000 vehicles in the US.

Tesla EVs come with an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) called Autopilot. Customers can also purchase extended driver assistance packages in the form of Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (or FSD) options in the US.

However, NHTSA has safety issues raised about the brand’s Autopilot feature, noting that the software’s monitoring and warning system “may not be sufficient to prevent driver abuse,” while Tesla’s Autosteer feature, which is part of Autopilot and FSD, had safety flaws that could pose a greater risk of a collision, the agency warned, which asked Tesla to recalled more than 2 million vehicles of American roads to fix the potholes.

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