US agency opens investigation into fatal Tesla vehicle crash that killed three

A Tesla logo on a Model S is pictured inside a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – A U.S. auto safety agency said on Wednesday it had opened an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle in California this month that killed three and may have been caused by its system advanced driver assistance.

The crash, involving a 2022 Tesla Model S that slammed into construction equipment in Newport Beach last week, is one of 35 being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). United States involving Tesla vehicles in which advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot were suspected of being used since 2016.

A total of 14 accidental deaths have been reported in these Tesla investigations, including the three recent fatalities.

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NHTSA has confirmed the new investigation into a May 12 Tesla Model S crash that killed three people in the vehicle and injured three workers, when it struck construction equipment along the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

Newport Beach police declined to say Wednesday whether the Tesla vehicle was on autopilot at the time of the crash, saying it was still under investigation.

Tesla’s Autopilot and other driver assistance systems that handle certain tasks for drivers have come under intense scrutiny.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot provides driver assistance by allowing vehicles to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically, but “requires active driver supervision and does not make the vehicle autonomous.” NHTSA notes that there are no self-driving vehicles for sale that would allow drivers not to be careful.

NHTSA sends accident special teams to conduct more than 100 in-depth special investigations into “unique real-world accidents” each year to “achieve timely, in-depth clinical investigations that can be used by the automotive safety community.” to improve the performance of its advanced system. security systems.”

Of the 35 special crash investigations NHTSA has conducted on Tesla since 2016 involving advanced driver assistance systems, the use of Autopilot was ruled out in three cases.

NHTSA said separately on Wednesday that in April it opened another special investigation into an accident involving a 2016 Tesla Model X in a collision in Florida that caused a minor injury, which may also have involved the use an advanced driver assistance system.

In August, NHTSA said it opened a formal preliminary assessment of Autopilot faults and identified at least a dozen crashes involving Tesla models and emergency vehicles. This investigation is still ongoing.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler, Grant McCool and Bernard Orr

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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