NTSB Orders Dawn Project To Stop Using Its Seal After Anti-Tesla Super Bowl Ad


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a U.S. government agency responsible for investigating crashes, has taken action against the Dawn Project organization for featuring its seal in a Super Bowl ad that called for a boycott of Tesla.

Key Takeaway

The NTSB has ordered the Dawn Project to cease using its seal after the organization featured it in an anti-Tesla Super Bowl ad. The NTSB clarified that it did not endorse the Dawn Project’s work and emphasized the need to protect its independence from commercial interests.

NTSB’s Directive

The NTSB has issued a letter instructing the Dawn Project to immediately remove its seal from the organization’s website, YouTube page, and any future broadcasts of the commercial. The agency clarified that it did not authorize the use of its seal and does not endorse the work of the Dawn Project.

The Dawn Project’s Response

In response, a spokesperson for the Dawn Project stated that the NTSB’s seal was used in the commercial to highlight Tesla’s refusal to implement the NTSB’s safety recommendations, which the Dawn Project supports. The spokesperson emphasized the organization’s respect for the NTSB and its mission.

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The Dawn Project, a safety advocacy group funded by tech CEO Dan O’Dowd, aired two ads during Super Bowl LVIII in specific markets, including Washington, DC, Dover, Delaware, Santa Barbara, California, and Traverse City, Michigan. The total cost of airing the ads in these locations amounted to $552,000.

Focus of the Ads

The commercials targeted Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, alleging critical safety defects. The Dawn Project has been a vocal critic of Tesla’s FSD, emphasizing that it is not truly self-driving and requires a human driver to be prepared to take control at any moment.

Previous Campaigns

This is not the first time the Dawn Project has raised concerns about Tesla’s FSD. The organization previously aired an ad during last year’s Super Bowl, and this year, the use of the NTSB seal in its commercial drew the attention of the agency.

NTSB’s Position

NTSB General Counsel William McMurry Jr. deemed the use of the NTSB seal as unlawful and highlighted that the commercial had been shared on the organization’s webpage and YouTube page. The agency emphasized the need to protect its independence from commercial interests and prevent unauthorized use of its seal.

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