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PSA: Use PIN-To-Drive or Keycard if you have small children

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
I want to make Model 3 owners with small children aware that there is a potential safety issue with the Model 3. Please communicate it to other Model 3 owners with small children, especially those who may not frequent these forums:

The Model 3 can be shifted from Park to Drive AND accelerated by any small child, with the driver door open, no weight in the driver seat, driver seat belt unbuckled, and the phone key does not even need to be in the car (just needs to be nearby).

This potential safety issue is no longer a problem if you use PIN-to-drive. If you use a key card and DISABLE phone as key, I believe the risk is also minimal (have not tested that).

The simplest situation where this could occur:

Kid climbs into front seat, and while you’re going around the front of the car, they run you over.

I have already reported the details of this potential issue to Tesla directly. I believe they do not intend the vehicle to operate this way, as normally rollaway protection should kick in (but does not in specific circumstances). Tesla may or may not intend this behavior, but just FYI, I have let them know how to duplicate this scenario.

As a visual demonstration, a child in the position below, if PIN-to-drive were NOT on, and phone-as-key were in use, could accelerate this Model 3 to very high speeds, within seconds:

IMG_20190531_132021.jpeg



So, be safe, watch your children, and use PIN-to-drive to enhance safety & security, until the issue is resolved.

The issue may also apply to Model S & Model X, but I have no way to test it. Feel free to check those vehicles so we can enhance owner awareness if there are other affected vehicles. You can also PM me directly if you have specific questions about the exact conditions that are required. I have a video posted elsewhere showing how this is done with Model 3, which I can link you to directly (it also is not that difficult to find if you check my recent posts).
 
Last edited:

NJM3

Member
Aug 28, 2018
17
16
Central NJ
Have you tested this? My model 3 automatically goes to park when the driver’s seatbelt is unbuckled and no weight is detected on the seat. Not the same exact case, but it seems inconsistent that sometimes it will accelerate with no driver in the seat.

This bug definitely needs to be corrected if what you’re saying is true.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
Have you tested this? My model 3 automatically goes to park when the driver’s seatbelt is unbuckled and no weight is detected on the seat. Not the same exact case, but it seems inconsistent that sometimes it will accelerate with no driver in the seat.

This bug definitely needs to be corrected if what you’re saying is true.

Yes. It is a very specific special case, but it can easily happen if a child has one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake (which the child in the picture would be in position to do). I guess I will just post the video link, since obviously people will want to know. Will modify post above as well...I guess my time has expired, so link below...:

Model 3 Rollaway
 

lynnpt2001

Cookie Monster MX & M3
Sep 9, 2015
518
591
Greencastle PA
I havn't tested my Model 3 but my 2013 Hyundai Azera will go into drive, engine running, no one in the seat as long as you press the brake pedal when shifting, and key fob is in the car for it to be started....
 
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Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,070
908
usa
Have you tested this? My model 3 automatically goes to park when the driver’s seatbelt is unbuckled and no weight is detected on the seat. Not the same exact case, but it seems inconsistent that sometimes it will accelerate with no driver in the seat.

This bug definitely needs to be corrected if what you’re saying is true.
I tested the following.

I left the phone 1 foot from the driverside front tire outside of the car on a chair to simulate a situation where I am washing the car with my phone in the pants pocket.
I got in the car and without the seatbelt on, I pressed on the brake pedal and the car started and I was able to put it in D.

The door won't unlock with the phone by the front tire. I had to open the door first, leave the phone by the front wheel, and get in the car.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
11,373
13,215
Riverside Co. CA
Do people actually open their drivers front doors and let their children climb into the DRIVERS seat and then walk away for any reason? I doubt it is supposed to allow them to drive... but in what circumstance does someone ever do this?

Why would a child that small ever be allowed to climb into the drivers seat without the parent / caretaker either already in the car, or getting in right after them. A child like that should be either getting in, or placed into a child seat, and they should never be in the drivers seat, let alone "when someone then walks around the front of the car after they do so".
 

TMThree

Active Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,118
1,780
USA
It's a good thing kids that small can't open the driver door and get in the car then, isn't it.

If you're leaving your kid unattended, they will eventually find a way to injure themselves or others, even if you don't own a Tesla.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
I got in the car and without the seatbelt on, I pressed on the brake pedal and the car started and I was able to put it in D.

This may or may not have been testing the rollaway function (depends on whether you left the driver door open): That rollaway protection will kick in if you do not have the seat belt on AND you leave the door open.

The issue here is that there is a gap in the rollaway protection: If you shift to drive (you have to have your foot on the brake to do so), and then IMMEDIATELY shift to the accelerator, you can accelerate. If you wait about one second before accelerating, the car will go back to park (rollaway protection). It is that "gap" that is the safety concern. It is in fact the only real concern.

See the linked video.
 
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Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,070
908
usa
Do people actually open their drivers front doors and let their children climb into the DRIVERS seat and then walk away for any reason? I doubt it is supposed to allow them to drive... but in what circumstance does someone ever do this?

Why would a child that small ever be allowed to climb into the drivers seat without the parent / caretaker either already in the car, or getting in right after them. A child like that should be either getting in, or placed into a child seat, and they should never be in the drivers seat, let alone "when someone then walks around the front of the car after they do so".
imagine ICE.
when the engine is not running and the key is not in the car, do you see any danger?
the case where the model X pinched the pregnant woman happened within a few days after they got their first Tesla.
people do that all the time in an ICE.
they will have to change their conventional behavior with Tesla.
 

Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,070
908
usa
This may or may not have been testing the rollaway function (depends on whether you left the driver door open): That rollaway protection will kick in if you do not have the seat belt on AND you leave the door open.

The issue here is that there is a gap in the rollaway protection: If you shift to drive (you have to have your foot on the brake to do so), and then IMMEDIATELY shift to the accelerator, you can accelerate. If you wait about one second before accelerating, the car will go back to park (rollaway protection). It is that "gap" that is the safety concern. It is in fact the only real concern.

See the linked video.
Yes, the car goes back to P if you don't start moving within very short time window
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
I havn't tested my Model 3 but my 2013 Hyundai Azera will go into drive, engine running, no one in the seat as long as you press the brake pedal when shifting, and key fob is in the car for it to be started....

To some extent, this is similar, but the differences usually are:

1) Your key has to be in the car. That is not the case here. Both of my pushbutton start vehicles locate the key within the vehicle with quite high precision. If those keys are outside of the frame of the car, they do not start. I don't know how they do this, but they do it (2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV), quite reliably. It's possible if you get within 6 inches of the frame it will work. But if I'm in front of the vehicle with my key, they definitely won't.

2) Usually you have to press a push button start (in modern pushbutton start vehicles, the brake must be depressed to use the pushbutton start - at least in my two modern vehicles), or put a key in the ignition first.

3) After the ignition is activated, and engine is on, the brake must be pressed before actuating the shift lever.
 
Last edited:

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
11,373
13,215
Riverside Co. CA
imagine ICE.
when the engine is not running and the key is not in the car, do you see any danger?
the case where the model X pinched the pregnant woman happened within a few days after they got their first Tesla.
people do that all the time in an ICE.
they will have to change their conventional behavior with Tesla.

I didnt watch any video with a pregnant woman getting pinched in their model X, and I never / ever had my child (who is now 26) get into the DRIVERS seat in any car unless:

1. He was sitting in my lap, in park
2. we were getting ready for me to teach him how to drive.

There is no reason for a child to be in a drivers seat in the car, ICE or EV or whatever, without the parent there, and definitely not then "walking around the front of the car".

What reason is there to do that, with the parent there? If someone wants to say "this could happen when the parent is not watching" ok, yeah children can do stuff... but "child gets into the drivers seat, and then Parent walks around to the other side of the car.... or does not immediately get in after them, and remove them from said seat... I dont get that.

To be clear, I am not saying that the car should allow this behavior. I am just asking do people actually let their kids get into the DRIVERS seat and then walk ANYWHERE else?
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
It's a good thing kids that small can't open the driver door and get in the car then, isn't it.

If you're leaving your kid unattended, they will eventually find a way to injure themselves or others, even if you don't own a Tesla.

This is intended to be a safety notification to prevent a child or an adult from getting injured. That is all.

I am describing a situation which can occur and can be easily avoided through the use of PIN-to-drive, a feature that has previously been known for being a security enhancement. I want to make people aware that if they have small children, they should use PIN-to-drive, as it is a safety enhancement.

Furthermore:
I don't think everyone realizes what is actually possible. Of course to some extent hazards exist with any vehicle, but people often think that when they have their key with them, on their person, outside the vehicle, that the car will not start. It is kind of trained into people, so they will make that assumption. But it is not true with Model 3.
 

Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,070
908
usa
To some extent, this is similar, but the differences usually are:

1) Your key has to be in the car. That is not the case here. Both of my pushbutton start vehicles locate the key within the vehicle with quite high precision. If those keys are outside of the frame of the car, they do not start. I don't know how they do this, but they do it (2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV)

2) Usually you have to press a push button start (in modern pushbutton start vehicles, the brake must be depressed to use the pushbutton start - at least in my two modern vehicles), or put a key in the ignition first.

3) After the ignition is activated, and engine is on, the brake must be pressed before actuating the shift lever.
When you enter your car, the antennas around your vehicle make comparative calculations to determine that you are indeed inside. The antennas transmit the electronic ID from the key fob to the receiver module. When you press the ignition button to start the car, the receiver disables the immobilizer, powers the starter circuit, and the engine turns over.
 

Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,070
908
usa
I didnt watch any video with a pregnant woman getting pinched in their model X, and I never / ever had my child (who is now 26) get into the DRIVERS seat in any car unless:

1. He was sitting in my lap, in park
2. we were getting ready for me to teach him how to drive.

There is no reason for a child to be in a drivers seat in the car, ICE or EV or whatever, without the parent there, and definitely not then "walking around the front of the car".

What reason is there to do that, with the parent there? If someone wants to say "this could happen when the parent is not watching" ok, yeah children can do stuff... but "child gets into the drivers seat, and then Parent walks around to the other side of the car.... or does not immediately get in after them, and remove them from said seat... I dont get that.

To be clear, I am not saying that the car should allow this behavior. I am just asking do people actually let their kids get into the DRIVERS seat and then walk ANYWHERE else?
I can think of one scenario where a guy is babysitting and he wants to wash his car without being interrupted by the toddler.
He is watching him all the time.
 

TMThree

Active Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,118
1,780
USA
This is intended to be a safety notification to prevent a child or an adult from getting injured. That is all.

I am describing a situation which can occur and can be easily avoided through the use of PIN-to-drive, a feature that has previously been known for being a security enhancement. I want to make people aware that if they have small children, they should use PIN-to-drive, as it is a safety enhancement.

Right. I'm all for PIN to drive, even without kids. You don't want someone stealing your car because they boosted your cell phone BT signal to your garage/driveway, you also don't want someone grabbing your car because you left your phone in the vehicle for a moment.

My point is that the world isn't child safe, and it should be expected that the child will be hurt if left unattended. The lady who is suing Tesla should have a case opened against her by Child Protective Services.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
I can think of one scenario where a guy is babysitting and he wants to wash his car without being interrupted by the toddler.
He is watching him all the time.

That would definitely be very very unwise without PIN-to-drive. Again, a person used to traditional keys might assume that since they have their phone with them while they are washing their car, the car won't go. That would be an incorrect assumption.

It's not just about the location of the key, though. It just is generally about one small step easier to start the Model 3 as compared to some other vehicles. The only warning you might have is the sound of the parking brake retracting - you'd have about half a second to get out of the way.

My point is that the world isn't child safe, and it should be expected that the child will be hurt if left unattended. The lady who is suing Tesla should have a case opened against her by Child Protective Services.

I would like to leave discussion of that case out of this thread, if possible. That was for a Model X and I do not know whether the same situation applies for that vehicle as to the Model 3 (even though that was why I discovered this, it may be completely unrelated).

This is just intended to address what I perceive as a major issue for Model 3 owners with children. They should be aware of the hazards, and use PIN-to-drive.

I do not have children, but if I did, I would ALWAYS have PIN-to-drive on, knowing what I know now. Previously, before I was aware of the "gap" in rollaway protection, I cannot be sure if I would have turned it on (except for security reasons).
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,144
14,110
San Diego
To be clear, I am not saying that the car should allow this behavior. I am just asking do people actually let their kids get into the DRIVERS seat and then walk ANYWHERE else?

Starting with an open door, it would take less than about 2 seconds for the car to accelerate if the correct sequence is followed. So, I could envision a scenario as a mother or father went to grab something in the backseat, but the toddler went to grab his favorite toy from the center console. It would be natural as a child clambers up under the steering wheel to extend feet backward and arms grabbing upwards to pull down on the gear shift level as support. Unintended acceleration could easily result.

Again, in any case, this is simply intended to encourage people to turn on PIN-to-drive. Tell your friends with Model 3s with small children to TURN IT ON. Problem solved, risk of this particular issue drops to zero.
 

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