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US agency opens investigation into fatal Tesla car crash that killed three

US agency opens investigation into fatal Tesla car crash that killed three

A picture of the Tesla logo on a Model S inside a Tesla dealership in New York, US, April 29, 2016. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

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The US Auto Safety Agency said on Wednesday it has opened an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model in California this month that resulted in three deaths and may have been caused by the advanced driver assistance system.

The accident, which involved a 2022 Tesla Model S crashing into construction equipment in Newport Beach last week, is one of 35 accidents under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving Tesla vehicles where advanced driver assistance systems were in place. Like autopilot. Suspected of being used since 2016.

A total of 14 road fatalities have been reported in the Tesla investigation, including the last three.

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NHTSA has confirmed the new investigation into the May 12 Tesla Model S crash that killed three in the car and injured three workers, when it crashed into construction equipment along the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

Newport Beach police on Wednesday declined to say whether a Tesla car was on autopilot at the time of the accident, saying it was still under investigation.

Tesla’s autopilot and other driver assistance systems that handle certain tasks for drivers have come under more scrutiny.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot provides driver assistance by enabling vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake automatically but “requires active driver supervision and does not make the vehicle autonomous.” The NHTSA notes that there are no autonomous vehicles for sale that would allow drivers to be inattentive.

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NHTSA sends special crash teams to do more 100 intense private crash investigations annually “Unique, real-world accidents” for “in-depth, timely clinical investigations that can be used by the automotive safety community to improve the performance of advanced safety systems.”

Of the 35 special crash investigations NHTSA has conducted at Tesla since 2016 that include advanced driver assistance systems, the use of autopilot has been ruled out in three.

NHTSA separately said Wednesday that in April it opened another special investigation into a crash involving a 2016 Tesla Model X in a Florida collision that caused minor injury, which may also have involved the use of an advanced driver assistance system.

In August, the NHTSA said it opened a formal initial assessment of defects in the autopilot and identified at least a dozen accidents involving Tesla models and emergency vehicles. This investigation is still pending.

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David Shepardson News. Editing by Leslie Adler, Grant McCall and Bernard Orr

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.