Does Tesla's 'Safety Score' Really Show if You're Driving Safely?

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Alex Reale
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
The much anticipated Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature is on the horizon for
drivers who have paid for the service—but only if they jump through a few more hoops.
Tesla drivers will be required to achieve a "safety score" of 80% before they will be authorized to update their cars’ software to include FSD. Once they’ve met this standard, they’ll be able to request the beta version of FSD, which promises even more advanced features than the existing
Drivers with FSD will be able to sit in the car while it automatically changes lanes, parks, and stops at signs and lights. They will even be able to "summon" it using their mobile app or key. You’ll need a passing safety score to access the exciting self-driving features.
Tesla has released its safety score to help curb unsafe driving habits.

How do you get a good Tesla safety score?

The safety score is based on data from five driver metrics. It accounts for how often forward collision warning is activated, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and forced autopilot disengagement (taking your hands off the wheel for a prolonged period of time).
Tesla considers these five factors to determine how likely drivers are to get into collisions. A high safety score qualifies a
safe driver
for access to FSD. But does this system work as intended? Some Tesla owners are already trying to break the game.

Tesla gamifies safe driving

Consumer Reports
(CR) said that Tesla drivers could engage in some potentially dangerous maneuvers to get a higher safety score. To avoid hard braking, for example, drivers may be tempted to slide through stop sign intersections or step on the gas to avoid braking at a red light. It could also encourage swerving away from obstacles instead of braking for them.
According to CR, rewarding drivers with a high safety score can be a good way to motivate people to drive safely. On the other hand, the gamification of driving has clear potential for darker consequences. Consumers may try to cheat to get the scores they need, especially when they’ve already paid for the expensive FSD feature.

The safety score tech is still in beta

The safety score system is still subject to change. Tesla’s website says, "The current formula was derived based on statistical modeling using 6 billion miles of fleet data. We expect to make changes to the formula in the future as we gain more customer and data insights."
CEO Elon Musk raised the stakes higher in a recent tweet, calling for a perfect 100/100 on the safety score to enable FSD. The system is still evolving and will be a key part of the discussion around driver safety with autonomous vehicles.
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