Third in a Month: NHTSA Opens Probe Following Tesla Crash

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Cars crash all the time, but vehicles believed to be piloted by an advanced driver-assist system at the time of the collision earn themselves an investigation from a federal agency. Such is the case with the latest Tesla crash, with occurred in Indiana on December 29th.

The fatal collision between a Model 3 and a parked fire truck is the third such investigation opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a month.

If you’ve followed previous NHTSA crash probes (this is the 14th involving Tesla), you’ll know that parked first responder vehicles seem to be a common target for the brand’s electric lineup. They’re also unlikely ones, tipping off the agency that the driver’s concentration may not have been on the road ahead.

As reported by Reuters, investigators will try and determine whether the Model 3’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system was activated at the time of the collision. The Associated Press reports that the crash took place on Interstate 70 near Terre Haute, killing a passenger riding in the Tesla.

Just days ago, NHTSA dispatched a team of investigators to examine the crash of a Model S in Gardena, California. That vehicle reportedly ran a red light and collided with the rear of a Honda Civic, killing two occupants in the other vehicle. The Indiana and California crashes occurred on the same day.

Last month, a 12th file was opened as the agency looked into a collision between a Model 3 and a parked police cruiser, which had its lights activated at the time, on Interstate 95 near Norwalk, Connecticut.

As stated multiple times before on these digital pages, Tesla warms drivers from taking their attention from the road and their hands from the wheel when Autopilot is engaged. The automaker wasn’t always so adamant about this, and drivers continue to post videos to YouTube showing just how much (misplaced) trust they have in the system.

[Image: Aleksei Potov/Shutterstock]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
2 of 47 comments
  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jan 10, 2020

    If you're not up to the task of steering your car, please take an Uber or Lyft FFS.

  • Slowbot Slowbot on Jan 13, 2020

    One thing is certain, if you crash a Tesla. Tesla is going to let you look bad before they look bad and they are going to use all of that telematics data recorded about your driving up to that point against you.

  • Akear When is Barra retiring?
  • AZFelix Fun duo who lived and worked in China for many years have a candid and crushing assessment on their EV manufacturing.
  • Vatchy Just think how many electric vehicles could be charged from a new nuclear power plant...
  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.