Tesla ‘Yoke’ Steering Wheel Considered Legal in the UK Says Regulator

Tesla’s new Model S/X yoke-style steering wheel drew controversy from the US regulator earlier this week, causing concern as to whether the update would even be deemed legal in the US.

On Wednesday, Sunday Times’ Driving reported that the UK’s Department for Transport (DFT), which oversees all policy decisions and agencies related to roads and cars, ruled that Tesla’s new steering wheel doesn’t have to have any specific shape or size. This means that, by default, the refreshed steering wheel is considered legal in the UK.

The DFT’s regulation states, “The regulations relating to steering equipment (UN-ECE Regulation 79) does not stipulate any shape or size of the steering wheel.”

Further, the DFT’s MOT testing includes that inspections should specifically include yokes and handlebars on vehicles, largely meaning that, so long as the control maneuvers for vehicles are safe and tested, they’ll be considered legal.

Whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will say the same in the US is still unclear, though the agency has reported it will be “contacting Tesla” regarding the new steering wheel coming in the Model S and X refresh.

Some analysts have even argued that Tesla’s blossoming infotainment and arcade games system may be more dangerous than its new steering wheel, though it will ultimately be up to Tesla and the NHTSA to ensure the safety of its drivers and passengers.