Elon Musk, Too Rich to Fine

Interesting article on the approach the national Highway and Transportation Safety Administration is taking to regulating Tesla and Elon Musk.

How auto regulators played mind games with Elon Musk

With about 2 million cars on the road, Tesla recently has experienced a wave of troubles: Cars using its driver-assistance features have slammed on the brakes for no reason and rolled through stop signs — the latter because Tesla programmed them to do so. A string of crashes into parked emergency vehicles is under investigation. And the cars’ batteries have been documented exploding in crashes and while parked in garages.

Such issues typically prompt NHTSA to investigate and sometimes to push for voluntary or mandatory recalls. If an automaker refuses to cooperate, NHTSA can impose cash fines of about $23,000 per day. The threat of fines — which can add up to nearly $115 million — generally works with traditional companies, the former officials said, but hasn’t proven effective when dealing with Tesla, an extraordinarily valuable company owned by the richest man in the world.

Finland solves this problem by assessing traffic fines as a “percent of net worth” rather than fixed dollar figure that can be of minimal impact to a wealthy scofflaw.

Finland Has $100,000 Speeding Fines For Millionaires



Maybe a Tesla-caused fire at a Congress-critter house or condo might eventually change things.