NHTSA Investigates Tesla Crash, As Driver Says Autopilot Was Enabled

US safety agency sends team to investigate Tesla crash

The driver of the Tesla Model S told police the auto was in Autopilot, a semi-autonomous mode, and that she was staring at her phone when the sedan plowed into the back of a Utah fire department truck stopped at a red light.

Police in Utah said a Tesla report of the vehicle showed that the driver of the Model S enabled Autopilot about 1 minute and 22 seconds before the crash.

The Drive was on the SJPD's shortlist of recipients for its investigation-concluding press release, and we have summarized its findings below.

A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment on what steps the company may take following the incident, but reiterated in a statement that the Tesla autopilot feature does not relieve a driver from the responsibility to stay closely engaged with the vehicle's operation. On more than a dozen occasions, the auto is said to have registered a total absence of hands on its wheel, and twice for periods exceeding a minute in length.

The driver had previously told police that she had engaged the autopilot and was "looking at her phone prior to the collision".

The Tesla driver suffered a broken right foot and Unified Fire truck driver was checked for whiplash, but not taken to a hospital, according to police.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the circumstances around a Tesla Model S that crashed into a fire-department vehicle in South Jordan, Utah.

The Tesla report also noted that instructions provided to drivers about their vehicle's automation features expressly instruct that they maintain attention, and hands on the wheel, at all times.

Tesla's Autopilot system is a focal point of an ongoing NTSB investigation about a Model X crash near Mountain View, CA.

Because of the technology's limitations, Tesla advises drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel while using Autopilot.

She re-enabled Autopilot 1m22s before the crash, let go of the wheel two seconds later and then didn't touch the wheel again before hitting the truck at 97km/h.

Police issued the driver a traffic citation for failure to keep proper lookout. "An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death". The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating three other Tesla accidents, with the most recent involving a fatal crash in Florida.

The National Transportation Safety Board launched a second investigation into a Tesla crash. Tesla and the NTSB ultimately parted ways as the investigation proceeded, mainly due to the electric auto maker's release of data pertaining to the crash before the NTSB's investigation was complete. In a later tweet, however, Musk stated that Autopilot does need to get better.

This is the most recent investigation by federal regulators into the latest accidents that involve Tesla-made vehicles.

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