US begins formal safety probe into 765,000 Tesla vehicles that reported accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) averred that since January 2018, it had recognized 11 crashes in which Tesla models “have encountered first responder scenes and subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes.”

The U.S. auto safety regulators announced on Monday that they had started a formal safety probe into Tesla Inc’s driver assistance system Autopilot after a chain of crashes comprising emergency vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) averred that since January 2018, it had recognized 11 crashes in which Tesla models “have encountered first responder scenes and subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes.”

It added that it had reports of 17 injuries and one casualty in those crashes. The NHTSA said: the 11 crashes included four this year, most recently one last month in San Diego, and it had opened a preliminary evaluation of Autopilot in 2014-2021 Tesla Models Y, X, S, and 3.

“The involved subject vehicles were all confirmed to have been engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes,” the NHTSA said in an official file up of document opening the investigation.

“The probe covers an estimated 765,000 Tesla vehicles in the United States,” the NHTSA averred in opening the investigation. It added most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included measures like emergency vehicle lights, flares or road cones.

The NHTSA announced in its investigation “will assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.” Autopilot, which handles some driving tasks and allows drivers to keep their hands off the wheel for extended periods, was operating in at least three Tesla vehicles involved in fatal U.S. crashes since 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reiterated.

SYSTEM SAFEGUARDS

In one of the cases, a doctor was watching a movie on a phone when his vehicle rammed into a state trooper in North Carolina.

In June, the NHTSA averred that “it had sent teams to review 30 Tesla crashes involving 10 deaths since 2016 where it is suspected advanced driver assistance systems were suspected of use.”

In an official statement, the NHTSA reminded drivers “no commercially available motor vehicles today are capable of driving themselves … Certain advanced driving assistance features can promote safety by helping drivers avoid crashes and mitigate the severity of crashes that occur, but as with all technologies and equipment on motor vehicles, drivers must use them correctly and responsibly.”

In January 2017, the NHTSA concluded a preliminary evaluation into Tesla’s Autopilot channelizing and evaluating 43,000 vehicles with no action taken after an approximately detailed seven-month investigation.

The NHTSA added at the time it “did not identify any defects in the design or performance” of Autopilot “nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed.”
Source Reuters
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