The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made an announcement on Tuesday, stating that they are commencing a fresh special crash investigation related to a tragic incident in California. The accident involved a 2018 Tesla Model 3, and there are suspicions that advanced driver assistance systems may have been utilized during the event.
NHTSA to Investigate Fatal Tesla Model 3 Crash
Over the past five years, the NHTSA has initiated investigations into more than three dozen Tesla cases, focusing on crashes where advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot were suspected to be in use. These investigations have resulted in 20 reported crash fatalities. Despite the frequency of these probes, Tesla has not yet provided an immediate response to a request for comment regarding the latest investigation.
The ongoing investigation concerning the 2018 Tesla Model 3 is the first of its kind since March, when the NHTSA launched a special investigation into another fatal incident involving a Tesla Model S. That particular case, which occurred in California, also raised concerns about the use of advanced driver assistance systems.
The current investigation centers on a 2014 model year Tesla that collided with a fire truck in Contra Costa County, California. Tragically, the Tesla driver lost their life at the scene of the accident. The fire department involved in the incident reported the incident to the NHTSA, leading to the latest special crash investigation.
Last December, the NHTSA made an announcement regarding two new special investigations concerning other Tesla crashes. These investigations were motivated by suspicions that advanced driver assistance systems played a role in those accidents as well.
It is important to note that the NHTSA has an extensive history of conducting more than 100 special crash investigations each year. These investigations primarily target emerging technologies and potential safety concerns in the automotive industry. In the past, such investigations have significantly contributed to the development of safety regulations, including those concerning airbags.
One significant milestone in this ongoing scrutiny of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system Autopilot occurred in June when the federal agency upgraded its defect probe. The probe now pertains to 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot, which were involved in crashes with parked emergency vehicles, including fire trucks. This crucial step was necessary to enable the NHTSA to take further action, such as potentially issuing a recall.
As the NHTSA delves deeper into this new special crash investigation, the focus remains on understanding the role of advanced driver assistance systems in the tragic 2018 Tesla Model 3 accident. The automotive industry, regulators, and consumers are all keenly interested in the findings of this investigation, as they have the potential to shape future safety measures and regulations concerning advanced driver assistance technologies.