Following two fatal Tesla crashes last month in California and Virginia, federal investigators are investigating at least 42 collisions believed to involve the car’s driver assistance software.
Tesla crashes under special investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have claimed 23 lives since 2016, including two pedestrians and two motorcyclists, according to data provided by the agency to DailyMail.com this week.
The special accident investigations all relate to cases in which driving systems such as autopilot or so-called “Full Self-Driving” were suspected of being used.
Autopilot is a feature meant to automatically steer, accelerate and brake cars in their lane, while the beta version of FSD can help change lanes on highways and respond to traffic control devices.
Tesla, which has disbanded its news department and did not respond to a request for comment, says the systems require the active supervision of a human driver who must be ready to take control.
NHTSA is investigating this 2018 wreck in which a Tesla electric SUV crashed into a barrier on US Highway 101 in Mountain View, California, killing the driver.
Federal investigators are investigating at least 42 crashes believed to involve Tesla’s driver assistance software. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is seen above
A review of NHTSA’s investigations into Tesla’s crashes reveals several trends.
Eight accidents are listed as related to “traffic laws” which force cars on the road to move into the opposite lane, or slow down, when emergency vehicles are stopped on the shoulder.
In one such case, a Tesla slammed into the back of a stopped fire truck in Walnut Creek, California in February, killing the driver of the Tesla Model S.
The accident happened even after Tesla last year released a proactive update to Autopilot, which slows vehicles when it detects emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. It has previously been claimed that the flashing lights of stationary emergency vehicles can disrupt the car’s sensors, which are used for autonomous driving.
Separately, three of NHTSA’s investigations involve what’s known as “heavy truck underriding,” where the Tesla plowed under the trailer of a large truck.
In a single case, in July of last year, a couple was killed with their Model S plowed under a tractor-trailer parked at a rest area in Ruskin, Florida.
Authorities said the two people killed, a 66-year-old woman driving the Tesla and her passenger, a 67-year-old man, were from Lompoc, California.
The latest accident under investigation, which occurred in July in Virginia, also involved a Tesla being driven under a heavy truck.
A Tesla Model S slammed into the back of a stopped fire truck in Walnut Creek, California in February, killing the driver.
In July last year, a couple was killed with their Model S plowed under a tractor-trailer parked at a rest area in Ruskin, Florida.
Baby Charlie Chhim died after a head-on collision between a Tesla Model 3 and a Subaru Impreza in South Lake Tahoe, California. The 17-year-old driver of the Subaru also died
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia said in a statement to the AP that on July 19, a Tesla went under the side of a tractor-trailer coming out of a truck stop, killing the driver of the truck. You’re here.
The ministry says the truck driver has been charged with reckless driving.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeffrey Long said the possible role of automated driving systems in the crash is being investigated.
The sheriff’s office is “investigating the accident to determine the cause and any potential culpability,” Long said in an email. “NHTSA is also involved and will lend its expertise to any investigative findings.”
Last month’s other crash being investigated by NHTSA happened on July 5 in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
State police said a Tesla Model 3 and a Subaru Impreza collided head-on in the evening and the 17-year-old driver of the Subaru died shortly after.
Charlie Chhim, a three-month-old baby who was traveling in the Tesla, died of his injuries a few days later.
“In the blink of an eye, our lives were forever shattered as baby Charlie was declared brain dead from injuries sustained in this tragic accident,” the baby’s aunt wrote in a post. GoFundMe family campaign.
Last year, some 43,000 Americans died in car crashes, and Tesla advocates often claim the automaker is unfairly singled out for its innovative technological advancements.
Tesla publishes security data arguing that its vehicles using Autopilot have far fewer accidents than the US average, based on miles driven.
In an accident in Florida in May 2016, the roof of this Model S was torn off when it hit the underside of a trailer, killing the driver.
The remains of a Tesla vehicle are visible after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, in April 2021. NHTSA is investigating the crash in relation to driver assistance software.
NHTSA typically initiates more than 100 “special” investigations each year into emerging technologies and other potential auto safety issues that have, for example, previously contributed to the development of airbag safety rules.
These are separate from defect investigations initiated by the agency to determine if a safety recall is warranted.
Earlier this month, the agency opened such an investigation into 280,000 new Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles following reports of loss of steering control and power steering.
NHTSA opened a preliminary assessment after receiving 12 complaints from owners of 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
A Model 3 driver reported in May that “the car’s steering felt stuck and slid off the road, resulting in it colliding with a tree.”
A driver in Alpharetta, Georgia, reported in June that a two-week-old Tesla Model Y was driving out of a mall when “all of a sudden the steering wheel stopped turning.” It was hard and I saw the alert. I went very close to the opposite side of the traffic and managed to cross the road inside the mall.
Last week, a grieving widow filed a federal lawsuit against Tesla over an accident that killed her husband in a violent explosion after his vehicle left the road and hit a tree.
Jyung Woo Hahn, 46, was driving a white 2020 Model 3 during a snowstorm in Rockland County, New York, when she left the Palisades Interstate Parkway around 11 a.m. on the 12 March of last year.
The suit does not allege the autopilot was on at the time of the crash, and an NHTSA official told DailyMail.com the wreckage was not under investigation by the ‘agency.