NHTSA Opens Investigations Into Two New Fatal Tesla Accidents

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【Summary】Two recent fatal automobile accidents involving Tesla’s electric cars are being investigated by the NHTSA. The fatal accidents took place in California and Florida.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 16, 2022 6:55 AM PT
NHTSA Opens Investigations Into Two New Fatal Tesla Accidents
The NHTSA is investigating a fatal accident in Florida this week after a Tesla Model 3 crashed into parked semi-truck.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently looking into 16 crashes involving Tesla's electric cars. The main thing the NHTSA is focusing on is Tesla's Autopilot system, which is an advanced driver-assist suite that brings a few high-tech, semi-autonomous features. It looks like the NTHSA's investigation is going to expand, because there were a few more fatal accidents involving Tesla's EVs. 

Two Recent Accidents

According to Reuters, the NHTSA has opened an investigation into a recent fatal pedestrian crash in California involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3. The outlet states that an "advanced driver assistance system" was suspected to be in use when the accident occurred. The NHTSA mentioned the accident in an email update earlier this week. 

On Thursday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a Tesla went airborne and struck and killed a pedestrian. NBC-7 in San Diego reports that a 39-year-old man was charged with vehicular manslaughter because of the accident. He was allegedly under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. 

In a separate statement to Reuters, the NHTSA told the outlet that it was aware of "and in discussions with Tesla" concerning an accident in Florida that occurred on Wednesday. In this accident, a 2015 Tesla rear-ended a stationary tractor-trailer at a rest area of Interstate 75 in the Gainesville area. This information is from a police report by the Florida Highway Patrol. The 66-year-old driver behind the wheel of the Tesla and a 67-year-old passenger were both killed. It's unknown whether Autopilot was active in this accident. 

Tesla Is In the Hot Seat

These fatal accidents come at a time when the NHTSA is investigating fatal accidents involving tesla's electric cars. Out of the 16 accidents that the NHTSA is currently investigating, 15 people were injured and one person was killed. The majority of these incidents took place at night. The NHTSA recently upgraded its investigation to an "Engineering Analysis." 

Last month, the federal government released two reports that shared information on crashes and fatalities involving autonomous vehicles, as well as cars equipped with advanced driver-assist systems. Tesla topped the list for reporting the most accidents that involved cars with driver-assist systems. This may seem unfair, since Tesla sells a lot of vehicles, but the report also included other automakers like Honda, Subaru, Ford, Toyota, BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, and Volkswagen. All of these automakers offer Level 2 systems in their vehicles. From July 20, 2021 to May 21, 2022, Tesla reported 273 crashes. For reference, Honda had 90, Subaru had 10, and Ford had 5. 

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