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US Agency Probes Role of Autopilot in Fatal Tesla Crash

The crash is one of 35 under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involving Tesla vehicles and their advanced driver assistance systems

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The US road safety agency is investigating Tesla’s Autopilot programme as it probes a crash involving a Tesla car that killed three people.

The crash is one of 35 under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving Tesla vehicles in which advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot were suspected of being used since 2016.

A total of 14 crash deaths have been reported in those Tesla’s Autopilot program investigations, including the three recent fatalities.

NHTSA confirmed the new probe involving a 2022 model Tesla Model S that slammed into construction equipment in the Los Angeles suburb of Newport Beach last week.

Local police declined to say Wednesday if the Tesla vehicle was in Autopilot mode at the time of the crash, saying it remains under investigation.


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Increased Scrutiny

Tesla’s Autopilot and other driver assistance systems that handle some tasks for drivers have come under increased scrutiny over road safety violations.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot provides drivers assistance by enabling vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake automatically but “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

NHTSA notes there are no autonomous vehicles for sale that would allow drivers to not pay attention.

Of the 35 special crash investigations by NHTSA into Tesla since 2016 involving advanced driver assistance systems, Autopilot use has been ruled out in three.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell






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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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