New NHTSA Investigation Will Look Into Five Years of Unusual Tesla Crashes
Tesla automobiles operating with the company's driver-assist technology and an inattentive driver have crashed into static objects for half a decade. The company, who calls its latest driver assist technology suite "Full Self Driving", seems incapable of designing an effective automatic emergency braking system to prevent such crashes.
Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided to look into these unusual crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has looked into Tesla crashes and made recommendations to change the safety systems in Tesla vehicles, but NTSB is a toothless agency without regulatory powers. NHTSA, by contrast, does have regulatory powers and can issue a stop-sale or recall if it feels it is warranted. The crashes NHTSA seems most focused on are the ones where a Tesla crashed into the most visible objects on the roadway such as a firetruck or police cruiser covered in reflective tape surrounded by flares with strobe lights flashing.
Torque News has been reporting on unusual Tesla crashes since 2016. The most recent crash was into a semi-tractor, not a first responder vehicle this past May. In between, Tesla crashes into stationary emergency responder vehicles have happened frequently. In some cases, as often as two per month. You can view a selection of the coverage from the past crashes at the bottom of this story.
In its coverage of this new federal investigation into Tesla vehicles, the Associated Press quoted Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, who said, “We are glad to see NHTSA finally acknowledge our long-standing call to investigate Tesla for putting technology on the road that will be foreseeably misused in a way that is leading to crashes, injuries, and deaths. If anything, this probe needs to go far beyond crashes involving first responder vehicles because the danger is to all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians when Autopilot is engaged.”
Torque News will update this story as it develops. Other outlets covering this story today include ABC News, USAToday, Reuters, CNN, and the New York Times.
May 2021 Five Years After First Tesla Tragedy Seemingly Preventable Crashes Still Occur
April 2021: Video of Tesla Model Y On Autopilot With No Driver Demonstrates Need For Government Intervention
March 2021: Another Tesla Hits Another Semi From the Side - This Time It Looks Like a Model Y
August 2020: Tesla Operated By Full Self Crashing System Hits Two Parked First Responder Vehicles - Again
July 2020 - Police: Tesla On Autopilot Hits Not One, But TWO Parked First Responder Vehicles
January 2020: Second Crash In One Month Of A Tesla Into A Parked Firetruck Results In Fatality
December 2019: Tesla Model 3 On Autopilot Hits Yet Another Police Vehicle - Why Won't They Stop?
August 2018: Third Tesla Crashes Into Back of Firetruck - That's Four Crashes Into Emergency Vehicles This Year
May 2018: Another Tesla On Autopilot Hits Another Emergency Vehicle - You Can't Make This Stuff Up
January 2018: Tesla Police Blotter News - Tesla Driver Hits Parked Firetruck - Blames Autopilot
July 2016: Understanding the fatal Tesla accident on Autopilot and the NHTSA probe