BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement Wednesday that it has opened investigations into 23 accidents related to autonomous assisted driving technology, 14 of which involved Tesla motors. When these crashes occurred, the car involved in the accident is believed to have activated some form of auto-assisted driving technology.
NHTSA also announced that it would send a special investigation team to Indiana to investigate the fatal accident at Aer of Tesla’s cars on December 29 last year, without elaborating on whether Tesla’s auto-assisted driver’s system, Autopilot, was turned on at the time. On December 29, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a parked fire truck on Interstate 70 in Indiana.
Indiana State Police said in a december 29 statement that the accident occurred at 8 a.m. local time. The fire department was dealing with an earlier incident, and fire trucks were flashing emergency lights parked in the left lane of Interstate 70, 45 miles west of Indianapolis. After the accident, the 25-year-old Tesla driver was injured, and his 23-year-old wife died in hospital with injuries, with no firefighters injured.
Police said that as part of the investigation, they intend to restore the accident process, drugs and alcohol are not the cause of the accident.
It was the second fatal Tesla car accident in the past two weeks when NHTSA launched an investigation. Also on December 29 last year, a Tesla Model S was driven off Highway 91 in Southern California, overspeeding a red light and crashing into a 2006 black Honda Civic, killing two passengers on the Civic. NHTSA has sent a special investigation team to investigate the accident, but has not disclosed whether it was caused by the Autopilot system.
Tesla has repeatedly said that the Autopilot system is only for drivers and that drivers still need to stay focused and ready to take over. Tesla says Tesla cars with Autopilot systems are safer than cars without them, but Autopilot can’t stop all crashes.
Also on December 7 last year, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a police car patrolling a Connecticut highway, but no one was injured. NHTSA is also investigating the incident.
Since 2016, at least three Tesla cars have turned on Autopilot in the event of a fatal accident. Although the two deadliest accidents in recent days have not yet been determined as to cause autopilot systems, there have been previous cases of Autopilot-induced accidents. In May 2018, for example, a fast-moving Tesla Model S crashed into a truck that had stopped. The owner of the Model S told Utah State Police that the car was in Autopilot-assisted driving mode at the time. (Author/Rain)
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