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Feds Probe Musk Tweet About Tesla Disabling Monitoring Alerts, Report Says

This is for Tesla drivers who are beta testing "Full Self-Driving" and are tired of getting nagged to touch the wheel.

Man driving a Tesla with a large center mounted screen
Interior of Tesla Model S, which can enable the full self driving beta.
James Martin/CNET

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Tesla CEO Elon Musk for a December tweet that indicated the car maker would disable driver monitoring alerts for some owners beta-testing "Full Self-Driving," the Associated Press reported Monday.

Full Self-Driving is a form of Tesla's Autopilot driver assistance feature that that's not fully autonomous yet and requires driver oversight.

The NHTSA said Musk's tweet is now a part of a larger investigation in 14 Teslas that have collided with emergency vehicles while Autopilot was enabled, according to the AP.

Late last month, a Twitter user tweeted at Musk requested if "wheel nag" -- notifications from Tesla's autonomous driving mode that reminds drivers to touch the wheel to ensure they're paying attention -- could be turned off for those that have logged more than 10,000 miles in the Full Self-Driving beta.

Musk agreed with the person's sentiment and said an update would becoming in January.

Tesla's system uses both cameras and measures torque on the steering wheel to ensure drivers are still paying attention.

Tesla couldn't be reached for comment as Musk dissolved the company's media relations department in 2020.The NHTSA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The investigation comes as Tesla has seen its stock plunge following Musk's acquisition of Twitter in October and increased competition from just about every other car manufacturer. Musk's continued controversy on Twitter, such as when he linked the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to a conspiracy theory, or when he attacked Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is making both Tesla owners and investors increasingly unhappy. The latest news could put more pressure on Tesla to find a new CEO as Musk seems to be preoccupied by Twitter.

California has already passed a law prohibiting automakers from using deceptive marketing around partial autonomous driving.