NHTSA gives 2018 Tesla Model 3 perfect marks for crash safety


The 2018 Tesla Model 3 aced its federal crash-test regimen and earned top, five-star scores on all of its sub-tests, safety officials said this week.

The Model 3 follows the Model S and Model X, which have both aced the NHTSA's tests. The insurance industry-funded IIHS has only rated the Model S sedan so far, and it earned mostly top "Good" scores on its crash tests, except an "Acceptable" rating for driver's side front small-overlap crash protection.

Details of the federal crash tests weren't immediately available Thursday.

The Model 3's across-the-board five-star rating is still relatively rare among new cars, especially small- to mid-size cars, crossovers, and SUVs. The 2018 Honda Accord received similar ratings for safety in federal testing.

The NHTSA uses its five-star rating to indicate the reduction of risk of serious injury in a crash relative to a baseline of 15 percent, based to the 2008 fleet average for new cars. A five-star rating indicates a reduced risk of serious injury by one-third or more, relative to the 2008 model year. A four-star rating indicates a reduction of risk by up to a third; a three-star rating indicates a reduction of risk equal to or greater by one-third. Very few new cars, if any, receive a two- or one-star rating on the NHTSA system.

Tesla has been under fire for some of the safety systems used in its Model 3 and other cars, including its driver-assist Autopilot features that have been blamed for some crashes, some of them fatal.

Earlier this year, a woman in Utah said her Tesla Model S accelerated and crashed into a firetruck on a busy suburban Salt Lake City highway while she was using Autopilot. Investigators haven't yet said if the driver-assist feature was to blame for the crash, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk lauded the sedan's structure for keeping the woman safe in the crash. Musk said the woman hit the firetruck at highway speeds and walked away with only a minor ankle injury.

 
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