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NHTSA Initiates New Investigation into Fatal Tesla Model 3 Crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the initiation of a special crash investigation into a fatal accident involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 in California. This investigation comes as advanced driver assistance systems, including Tesla's Autopilot, are suspected to have been used at the time of the crash.





Over the past seven years, NHTSA has probed more than three dozen Tesla special crash investigations, specifically focusing on cases where advanced driver assistance systems were suspected of being utilized. Tragically, these investigations have reported a total of 20 crash-related fatalities.


As of this report, Tesla has not issued an immediate response to the NHTSA's request for comment regarding the latest investigation.


This marks the first special crash investigation opened by the NHTSA since March, when they began looking into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S in California. As with the present case, the agency suspected the use of an advanced driver assistance system at the time of the accident.


The current investigation centers around a 2014 model year Tesla that collided with a fire truck in Contra Costa County, California. According to reports from the fire department, the Tesla driver was pronounced dead at the scene.


In response to growing concerns over incidents involving advanced driver assistance systems, NHTSA opened two additional special investigations in December. These cases involved Tesla vehicles where the use of such systems was suspected during the time of the accidents.


NHTSA is known to conduct more than 100 special crash investigations each year, focusing on emerging technologies and other potential auto safety issues. Their findings have played a crucial role in developing safety regulations, such as those related to airbags.


In June, the federal agency elevated a defect probe to an engineering analysis, covering approximately 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with the Autopilot driver assistance system. This engineering analysis targeted crashes involving parked emergency vehicles, including fire trucks. The upgrade in the investigation process was necessary to consider the possibility of a recall if deemed appropriate.


As the investigation into the latest Tesla Model 3 crash unfolds, stakeholders in the automotive industry, policymakers, and the public eagerly await the NHTSA's findings. The outcome of this investigation could significantly impact the future of advanced driver assistance systems and vehicle safety regulations in the United States.


We will continue to monitor developments in this case and provide updates as new information emerges. Our thoughts are with the families affected by these tragic accidents, and we hope that safety improvements and preventive measures can be implemented to prevent further loss of life on the roads.

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