It was on May 12 that an almost new Tesla Model S crashed into equipment in connection with road work along the Pacific Costal Highway in Newport Beach, according to Reuters, which first mentioned the case. In the accident, three passengers in the car were killed and three road workers injured.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) suspects that the car’s self-driving system, which Tesla calls Autopilot, was in use. Therefore, an investigation has been started to find out more about the cause of the accident.
35 Tesla crashes
In total, NHTSA has conducted 35 investigations into accidents with Tesla cars since 2016. In these accidents, 14 people have been killed, including the last 3.
In only three of the accidents have the authorities ruled out the autopilot system was activated.
Also in April, NHTSA announced that they started investigating an accident with a 2016 model Tesla Model X. In this accident, no one was killed.
Among other accidents that are being investigated is one from August last year, where a Tesla crashed into a police car that was parked along the highway.
No one behind the wheel
After an accident in Harris County, Texas in April last year, police said witnesses had told that there was no driver behind the wheel of the car – a Tesla Model S – when it crashed into a tree and killed two. Tesla claims that the autopilot in the car was not activated at the time, but the police are investigating the case.
Tesla was early on in marketing its cars as self-driving. As early as 2016, Tesla marketed the cars’ Autopilot function and self-driving features with a video on its website.
“Runs all by myself”
A Model S seems to drive all by itself both in the city and on the road. The text states that “the person behind the wheel is sitting there just because the law requires it. He does nothing. The car drives itself ».
Investigations by US authorities include models S, X, Y and 3 – in other words, all Tesla cars. They want to find out if the technology and systems that Tesla’s autopilot uses work well enough.
No cars are self-driving
Tesla has not commented on this matter to Reuters now, but the factory has toned down the allegations that the cars are completely self-driving. On its website, Tesla now says that Autopilot enables the car to accelerate, brake and steer automatically, but “does not make the car self-driving and requires the driver to constantly monitor driving”.
A spokesperson for NHTSA, comments on this as follows:
– NHTSA would like to remind the public that today there are no cars that are able to drive themselves. All cars that you can buy require a driver to be in control at all times. All laws hold the driver responsible for what happens when the car is on the road.