The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two fatal Tesla crashes. According to Reuters, the NHTSA has launched an inquiry into a recent tragic collision in California in which a Tesla driver killed a pedestrian. An agency spokesman also confirmed to The Verge that a crash on July 6th in Florida is being investigated.
The Florida collision occurred on Interstate 75, just south of Gainesville when a Tesla vehicle collided with the rear of a stalled tractor-trailer parked at a truck stop. According to Fox 35, two persons were killed inside the Tesla, the driver and a passenger. According to an NHTSA spokeswoman, the agency was aware of the collision and was in contact with Tesla about it.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol representative, it is unknown whether Autopilot was activated at the time of the crash. “In their investigation of this occurrence, our Investigators will gather as much information and data as possible,” Lieutenant P.V. Riordan stated in an email to The Verge. “Finally, they may contact the manufacturer if additional information is required.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is presently investigating 16 collisions in which Tesla owners using Autopilot collided with stationary emergency vehicles, resulting in 15 injuries and one fatality. The software ignored scene control measures such as warning lights, flares, cones, and an illuminated arrow board in the majority of these accidents, which occurred after dark. The investigation was been advanced to an “Engineering Analysis,” the second and final level of an investigation before a possible recall.
Tesla leads the government’s list of vehicle crashes including active driver-assist technology, which automakers claim makes driving safer. Tesla’s results were significantly higher than those of its competitors, most likely because it sells more vehicles equipped with Level 2 technologies than its competitors. Tesla also collects real-time telematics data from its clients, which allows for considerably speedier reporting.
According to the NHTSA, there were 273 crashes involving Tesla vehicles utilizing Autopilot between July 20th, 2021, and May 21st, 2022. The incidents recorded by the EV firm account for the majority of the overall 392 crashes documented during that time period.
Joshua Brown was the first person killed while using Tesla Autopilot in 2016, after his Tesla Model S collided with a tractor-trailer that was crossing his path on US Highway 27A near Williston, Florida. Three years later, another Tesla owner, 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner, was murdered on a Florida highway in hauntingly similar circumstances: his Model 3 crashed with a tractor-trailer that was crossing in front of him, tearing the roof off. Banner, too, was using Autopilot.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously blamed crashes involving Autopilot on driver overconfidence. “When there is a big accident, it is almost always, if not always, an experienced user, and the problem is more one of complacency,” Musk stated in 2018.