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Tesla’s wiper controls are ruled illegal in Germany after someone crashed while using them

Tesla’s wiper controls through its touchscreen have been ruled illegal in Germany after someone crashed their Model 3 while using them and fought a fine and driving ban through the court system.

German courts are throwing a lot of sticks in Tesla’s wheel recently.

Last month, Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving claims were judged ‘misleading’ by a German court and now they are making the use of the touchscreen to modify wiper controls in the Model 3 illegal.

A Tesla Model 3 driver got into an accident while using the touchscreen to adjust the speed of the automatic windshield wipers.

In Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, Tesla didn’t install normal windshield wiper settings through a steering wheel stalk.

Instead, the automaker is detecting the rain through its Autopilot cameras and automatically adjusting the speed based on the strength of the rainfall.

If the driver wants to adjust the speed, they need to do it through the center touchscreen.

The driver in Germany was adjusting those settings when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

A local district court gave him a fine and a one-month driving ban and that’s where the problem started for Tesla.

He decided to fight the punishment – bringing the case to the Higher Regional Court (OLG). 

The OLG judge ruled:

“The  touchscreen permanently installed in the vehicle of the Tesla brand is an electronic device within the meaning of Section 23 (1a) sentence  1 and 2 StVO, the operation of which the motor vehicle driver is only permitted under the conditions of this regulation It does not matter which purpose the driver pursues with the operation, and the setting of the functions required to operate the motor vehicle via the touchscreen (here: setting the wiper interval of the windshield wiper) is therefore only permitted if this is done with a short, Street, traffic, visibility and weather conditions adapted to the view of the screen while at the same time looking away from the traffic is connected “

The judgment sets a precedent for future Tesla drivers about the use of the touchscreen for “functions required to operate the motor vehicle.”

Electrek’s Take

I have to admit that Tesla’s wiper control did bother me on my Model 3 at first, but the automatic wipers have since improved reducing the need to play with the controls.

Also, there’s a wiper button on the left stalk. You press it once for one wipe or a prolonged press to clean your windshield.

Once you do either of those, the wiper options pop up at the bottom of your screen. You can adjust them with minimal interaction with the screen.

Finally, there are always voice commands if you really don’t want to take your eyes off the road even for a second.

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