US government investigating whether autonomous Tesla killed three people in crash

The US government’s road safety agency has dispatched a team to investigate the possibility that a Tesla involved in a California crash that killed three people was operating on a partially automated driving system

Adam Smith
Thursday 19 May 2022 15:44
Tesla-Crash Investigation
Tesla-Crash Investigation

The US government's road safety agency has dispatched a team to investigate the possibility that a Tesla involved in a California crash that killed three people was operating on a partially automated driving system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday confirmed that it had sent a special crash investigation team to probe the May 12 crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

The investigation is part of a larger inquiry by the agency into crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems such as Tesla's Autopilot. Since 2016, the agency has sent teams to 34 crashes in which the systems were either in use or suspected of operating. Of the 34, 28 involved Teslas, according to a NHTSA document released Wednesday.

Fifteen people died in the crashes that NHTSA is investigating, and at least 15 more were hurt. Of the deaths, 14 occurred in crashes involving Teslas, the documents say.

In addition to the specific crashes, NHTSA has investigations under way into Teslas on Autopilot crashing into emergency vehicles parked along roadways, as well as a probe into Autopilot braking for no apparent reason.

Last June NHTSA or dered automakers to report any crashes on public roads involving fully autonomous vehicles or those with partially automated driver assist systems. The partially automated systems can keep a vehicle centered in its lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of it. NHTSA says the data can show if there are common patterns in crashes involving the systems.

A message was left Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas. NHTSA wouldn't comment beyond release of the document.

Tesla warns drivers using Autopilot, as well as its “Full Self-Driving” system, that the cars can’t drive themselves and that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.

NHTSA also is investigating two crashes involving Volvos, one Navya shuttle crash, two involving Cadillacs, one in a Lexus and one in a Hyundai. One of the Volvo crashes was an Uber autonomous test vehicle that ran over and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March of 2018.

In the Newport Beach crash, police were called around 12:45 a.m. and found that a 2022 Tesla Model S sedan had crashed into a curb and then hit construction equipment on the south side of the road.

Authorities found two men and a woman dead in the car, and three construction workers suffered minor injuries, according to police.

The Newport Beach Police Department said it brought in its Major Accident Investigation Team.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in