Safety agency to investigate Tesla crash in Utah

Safety agency to investigate Tesla crash in Utah

A Utah driver switched on the Autopilot function of her Tesla Model S and then didn't touch the steering wheel again for 80 seconds before the auto slammed into a fire engine that was stopped at a red light last week.

Police in Utah said a Tesla report of the vehicle showed that the driver of the Model S enabled Autopilot about 1 minute and 22 seconds before the crash.

The driver manually pressed the vehicle brake pedal fractions of a second prior to the crash.

Tesla advises drivers that they must keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times while using Autopilot, which the company says does not make the vehicle "autonomous".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a team to conduct its own investigation into the incident.

A Tesla driver who recently crashed into a truck while on Autopilot got a citation from the police after Tesla released data logs and the driver admitted that she was looking at her phone during the accident.

A Tesla sedan with a semi-autonomous Autopilot feature rear-ended a fire department truck at 60 miles per hour (97 kph) apparently without braking before impact on May 11, 2018, but police say it's unknown if the Autopilot feature was engaged. "She did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds until the crash happened; this is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time". The Tesla driver suffered a broken ankle. According to the results shared by the organization, which is presently carrying out safety tests of the Model 3, the electric vehicle from Tesla Motors has achieved a 'superior rating for front crash prevention'.

According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the auto claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone. "Based upon witness information, the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision", a statement from South Jordan Police said. Among those instances, the driver had her hands off the wheel twice for more than one minute each time, though her hands came back on only following a visual alert.

NHTSA is also investigating a fatal crash in March that involved a Tesla Model X using Autopilot.

The SCI also collects relevant data like vehicle, occupants, injury mechanisms, roadway, and safety systems, which are all obtained from 100 crashes that they will study annually, according to the NHTSA.

Last week, NHTSA also said it would probe a May 8 Tesla accident in Florida that killed two teenagers and injured another.

Tesla says the system is not created to avoid a collision and warns drivers not to rely on it entirely; it's unclear if the system activated before this crash.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board stated that it is not investigating the Utah crash.