Fatal Tesla Crashes Spark Federal Investigation

Most people agree that self-driving cars are the future, but many still have serious reservations surrounding the safety of the autonomous-vehicle options that are available now. Of course, we’re talking about Tesla and their auto-drive functionality. Those reservations are unfounded, as evidenced by a recent federal investigation that was launched following two fatal Tesla crashes in Florida.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), two federal teams have been sent to Florida to look into two different fatal Tesla crashes. One crash involved a 2018 Model 3 while the other involved a 2016 Model S.

The Model S caught fire and burned the driver beyond recognition. The Model 3 crashed into a trailer, reminiscent of the first fatal Tesla crash that was linked to an autopilot mistake. It is not clear at this time whether the autopilot functionality was engaged for either of these crashes.

According to the Insurance Journal “The NTSB is investigating three earlier Tesla incidents being reviewed by NHTSA, as well as an August 2017 Tesla battery fire in California, in which an owner ran into his garage.”

It is worth noting that Tesla has issued clear instructions for the customers using the autopilot feature. Tesla says the feature “should not be used on highways that have very sharp turns or lane markings that are absent, faded, or ambiguous.” Many people are clearly not following the instructions as they should.

It seems as though the majority of Tesla problems stem from two specific issues: either an accident is related to some sort of autopilot issue, or a battery is catching on fire. Given the technology involved in all of Tesla’s vehicles it is no surprise that there are still some issues to be ironed out. However, if those issues result in fatalities they need to be addressed quickly.

Sources:
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/03/04/519373.htm

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