Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) issued a press release this week saying that it earned the highest safety rating of any vehicle ever from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The automaker even went so far as to say it had earned a 5.4 star rating, prompting the agency to issue a statement saying that there is no such rating.

Tesla Motors

Tesla’s Model S as the safest vehicle?

Although the NHTSA does not name Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) by name specifically, it appears as if the statement is a direct response to the automaker’s PR campaign. The agency posted a statement on its website saying that five stars is the highest rating it provides and that it does not rate vehicles over five stars or rank vehicles within the star rating categories.

It also linked to the guidelines it provides to auto manufacturers and advertising agencies “to ensure that accurate and consistent information is conveyed to the public” regarding the crash test results.

Tesla’s car did break the testing machine…

However, it’s worth reminding everyone that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S sedan did manage to break one of the testing machines. The vehicle’s roof was so strong that the machine failed when applying 4Gs of pressure to it.

Also Tesla did achieve a rating that only 1 percent of vehicles on the road can achieve, so who can blame the company for getting a little carried away? And Tesla provided its own explanation for the 5.4 rating it supplied in its press release.

Tesla stands behind its statement

Alex Davies of Business Insider reports that Tesla emailed a statement saying that they stand by their press release and “believe it to be true based on NHTSA’s numeric Relative Risk Score (RSS) and overall vehicle-safety score (VSS) that ranks cars across its crash-test categories.”

The company said the VSS score correlates to the probability of a vehicle occupant being injured in an accident, data which is made publicly available. The vehicle safety score for the Model S was .42, which is the lowest of any other vehicle listed in public documents, according to Davies.

So there you have it. When looking at the vehicle-safety score, the Model S really may be the safest car on the road, at least in terms of the probability that those riding in it will be injured in a crash.