Enduring the Tesla Safety Score experience on the road to a safer, more autonomous future

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 12 2021 (updated on Oct 29 2021) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Tesla
  • Yes, I'm currently in the Safety Score phase of my own road toward access to the "Full Self Driving" beta. Whatever happens, it will be interesting on many levels. Let me be clear here, as Tesla states:

    The currently enabled Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. Full autonomy will be dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities evolve, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates.

    TechCrunch - Tesla has 150,000 cars using its safety score tool - "the probability of a collision for a customer using a safety score versus someone who is not using the safety score is 30% lower" - Zachary Kirkhorn, Tesla CFO.

    While about 2,000 folks in the world have had access to beta versions of Tesla software that allows for driver to engage Autosteer on city streets for about a year a year, most of them were employees. Well under a hundred of them are members of the public who have been able to authorized to share their experiences. Gladly, no accidents have happened to date. Yesterday, the wider rollout of this beta software began, starting with 1,000 drivers who have a Safety Score of 100 as of October 11 2021.

    This article sums up one author's strong opinion pretty succinctly:

    • Tesla’s FSD Safety Score Is Finding Out Who Will Tolerate FSD
      Oct 12 2021 by Michael Barnard at CleanTechnica

      Passengers in autonomous vehicles will expect to be able to drink a coffee and feel like they are on a bus or a train, not strapped into a transparent ping pong ball in the middle of a bunch of other transparent ping pong balls.

    In other words, those desiring access to #FSDBeta ("Full Self Driving" beta) will need to be the type of driver that can tolerate a very conservative driving style, at least during the initial rollout of this software to 1,000 Tesla owners at a time. Those who are buyers or subscribers to FSDBeta who have a Safety Score of 100.

    My personal interest is not only in the ultimate AI challenge - automating more of the driving experience - but also the potential for the entire fleet of Tesla EVs to increase their safety too through machine learning. The accelerated collection of real-world data will accelerate the improvement of safety. I'm hoping that no major incidents impede this moment in history, given the great potential to save a lot of lives with cars blessed with enough AI to fully understand what is going on around it.


    This article is focused mostly on my experience of trying to get a decent Safety Score:

    The Safety Score Beta is the first release to the Safety Score which is an assessment of your driving behavior based on five metrics called Safety Factors. These are combined to estimate the likelihood that your driving could result in a future collision. We combine your daily Safety Scores (up to 30 days) to calculate the aggregated Safety Score, displayed on the main ‘Safety Score’ screen of the Tesla app. You can find details around your daily Safety Score by selecting ‘Daily Details’ at the bottom of the screen.

    The Safety Score Beta is intended to provide drivers transparency and feedback of their driving behaviors. The Safety Score is a value between 0 and 100, where a higher score indicates safer driving. Most drivers are expected to have a Safety Score of 80 or above.

    Whenever it has been safe to do so, I've been driving rather conservatively these past 2 weeks, staying extra vigilant at all times, especially when it comes to somebody that might cut me off. I won't compromise my safety to stay at 100, here's an example. There are times when I'm being tailgated by somebody very closely. This means I cannot take an off-ramp or turn at the crazy-slow speeds that the Safety Score algorithm currently requires, at least not without jeopardizing my safety. If that means I have to wait some weeks or months to gain access to FSDBeta, so be it.

    When the opt-in button first arrived, I was rather worried my wife would be upset by the DMS (Driver Monitoring System), or my new extremely slow-cornering driving style. Instead, to my surprise, she was kind of into the Safety Score gamification angle of this experience. That is, how can I get my score to 100, and what new techniques can I learn to get there. Here's what I learned with several hundred miles of driving these past 2 weeks:

    • acceleration rate really doesn't matter, so staying in Chill Mode isn't necessary
    • strive for one-pedal driving where possible, allowing the car to come to a stop without actually tapping the brake pedal
    • take turns very smoothly and slowly, accelerating gradually as I exit the turn
    • constantly monitor rear view and no-blind-spot side-view mirrors, to anticipate aggressive drivers overtaking me and likely to cut me off and cause a forward collision warning

    Has this made me a safer driver overall? I don't really know, but I do know there are instances where it could actually putting us at slightly increased risk of being rear-ended. Given we've both been hit from behind by high speed drunk-drivers, that's not a circumstance either of us is interested in ever experiencing again.


    When our day for FSDBeta testing does arrive, we will have certainly worked hard for it. It sure will be intriguing to try it out, starting out on some rather empty streets. Having beta-tested software for over 3 decades, I'm quite accustomed to reporting flaws. As for this brave new world of testing ML for better AI, I have a strong feeling it won't be long before my wife refuses to let me keep FSDBeta engaged. Much like what @TeslaFSD tweeted earlier tonight. Is she interested in trying her hand at driving our 2018 Model 3, to see if she can improve our Safety Score? Not at all.

    As of October 13 2021, my score is 98. My wait for access to the FSD Beta might not be too long now. It partially depends on what happens when I drive to places I need to and want to go. Places like visiting family in Boston and Manhattan, where the odds of my Safety Score improving are rather low, and the odds of irritating my passengers by are quite high.




    Here's me gaining access to "THE Button" as I review Tesla's clear disclosures and warnings.

    TinkerTry - Sep 25 2021 - Tesla Software Update 2021.32.22 FSD Beta Opt-in Button approves week of driver safety monitoring

    Here's a driver that is new to #FSDBeta:

    Tesla Tube - Oct 11 2021 - FSD Beta 10.2 first drive 100 safety score

    At this spot, Brandon mentions the irony here, given the FSDBeta drives much faster than folks doing the Safety Score style of driving:

    Full self driving would not get nearly as safe of a Tesla Safety Score as I have, but it's efficient and it worked.

    Brandon Driver - Oct 11 2021 - New Full Self Driving Beta 10.2 Tester, Perfect 100 Score

    Both of the following videos are by drivers who already has access to #FSDBeta before yesterday:
    Here's Roger K., who is also from Connecticut:

    Roger K. - Oct 11 2021 - Tesla FSD Beta V10.2 - Initial Impressions & Detailed Scenarios

    Pilot Chuck Cook:

    Chuck Cook - Oct 11 2021 - v10.2 Unprotected Left Turns
    Chuck Cook - Sep 23 2021 - FSDBeta Safety Video - Prospective New FSDBeta Users Please Watch and Share!

    Popular Tesla Daily Podcaster

    Rob Maurer - Oct 11 2021 - Tesla FSD Beta 10.2 | First Drive - Construction, Roundabouts, Hairpins & More



    Oct 13 2021 Update

    Added new podcast and videos to article above.

    Added below TeslaFi screenshot, based on a collection of 3 screenshots.

    I've driven 596 miles with Safety Scoring turned on, for a total of 16 hours and 58 minutes.

    Oct 22 2021 Update

    I did it! I got my score up to 99, and I only needed 33 more miles of 100 Safety Score to get there, details in this tweet:


    Another way is through this simple website:
    Thursday, finished trip to Boston and back (with a daily Safety Score at 100, non rush hour), then finished to job of getting to 99 Friday night.

    Oct 23 2021 Update

    Awoke to no #FSDBeta welcome email or software, turns out things have been a bit delayed, see Tesla rolls back FSD Beta V10.3 after early issues discovered by testers.

    Oct 25 2021 Update

    Still no #FSDBeta welcome email or software. Car has been parked since October 22nd, patiently waiting. On Saturday and Sunday, we used our 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus for 240 mile trip to Manhattan and back, and a 200 mile trip to Boston and back.

    At 12:17pm today, Drive Tesla Canada tweeted and published Tesla releases FSD Beta V10.3.1 after hiccups with weekend release update, featuring Elon's tweet:

    10.3.1 rolling out now

    Oct 29 2021 Update

    It's here, I got my FSDBeta! Detailed first-drive article with video here. List of related articles below now updated too.

    See also at TinkerTry

    All EV related articles:

    All EV related videos:





    This article captures the fun of driving up and down Mount Washington in my EV, with my short, fun 4K video below. Now imagine how effortless, quiet, and smell-free it will be to climb up steep grades in your EV pickup, even when towing!

    Safe fun with my father:

    See also

    Here's a super-detailed article you might enjoy as much as I did.


    Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We financed the purchase of two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!