Tesla Drivers Say They Can Easily Cheat Tesla's Safety Score

Data from when something bad happens can be erased, and the score itself can be reset with the press of a few buttons.
October 20, 2021, 1:00pm
Tesla FSD
Screenshot: Youtube
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
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When Tesla released the Safety Score, a beta program that rates drivers on various metrics automatically recorded by the car to determine eligibility for another beta program called Full Self-Driving beta, drivers immediately started figuring out how to game the system to get a high score without actually driving any safer. But some Tesla owners say they have found a way to neutralize the Safety Score entirely by either not sending data to Tesla or resetting their score. 

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Because Tesla—unlike insurance companies that also use driving behavior to calculate rates—tells drivers exactly what metrics it uses, like hard braking and close following, drivers can avoid those behaviors even when doing so might be the safer option, like stopping at yellow lights or braking for cyclists. It also means drivers can predict with reasonable accuracy if any given drive will result in their score going up or down. This ability to intuit the impact any given action will have on their score wouldn’t be a big deal, except some drivers claim to have figured out a way to erase the data from each drive before it ends, assuring it is never factored into their safety scores. And since Tesla is using Safety Scores to rate driver risk in calculating insurance rates for its in-house insurance offering, it could theoretically make Tesla’s car insurance cheaper even if people drive poorly. It’s the Safety Score equivalent of resetting the game console to prevent it from saving the dumb thing you just did. 

The approach has been detailed in several YouTube videos and Reddit posts (the latter of which got removed by the Subreddit’s moderators but was viewed by Motherboard beforehand). All the driver has to do is hold down both scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel for a few seconds to reset the Media Control Unit. For whatever reason, this seems to wipe the Safety Score data from the drive before it is sent to Tesla. So if a driver, say, has to slam on the brakes to avoid rear-ending someone, a quick reset at the console will mean that event will not count towards the Safety Score.

Another discovery by Tesla aficionados has been that each element of the Safety Score is weighted based on the amount of time and distance a driver spends in that scenario. For example, the hard braking statistic is not a factor of all the time one spends driving, but rather what percentage of braking time is spent braking hard. So one YouTuber figured out that by “accelerating from a stop sign as quickly as I could then gently, ever so slightly applying the brakes for as long as I can,” doing this over and over again in circles around his neighborhood, he was able to negate a hard braking incident that had dinged his score.

Of course, if none of these approaches work or are too time-consuming, one Tesla owner suggests simply starting over. By leaving the FSD Beta program, driving for a few miles, parking and shutting off the car, turning it back on and opting back into FSD Beta, the Safety Score seems to reset. At that point, all the driver has to do is drive very carefully for one mile and they will have a perfect Safety Score. Many commenters on the video say this method worked for them. 

Elon Musk has said everyone with a perfect score will not only get FSD Beta, but also steep discounts to Tesla Insurance, the company’s own car insurance product. And, with these few simple tricks, anyone, regardless of how they drive, can have a perfect score.