- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) have launched an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S and a fire truck parked on the highway in February 2023.
- The investigation is to determine if the driver was the cause of the accident or if Tesla’s Full Self Driving tech (FSD) played a role.
- The incident could have wider implications for driving-assisted technology, with federal regulators concerned that drivers could become too reliant on such systems.
In February 2023, a Tesla Model S crashed into a firetruck packed in the middle of the highway and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) have launched a special investigation into the accident.
The Tesla driver was killed during the crash while the driver was critically injured and four firefighters had to be taken to the hospital.
According the CHP, it is trying to find out if the driver had been the cause of the accident or if it involved Tesla’s Full Self Driving tech (FSD).
“It is unclear if drug or alcohol influence is a factor in this crash. It was unable to be determined at the scene if the Tesla was being operated with any driver assistance or automation activated at the time of the crash,” its statement read.
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The Fire Department had released a statement earlier stating that the truck was parked to protect the other responders who were moving a disabled vehicle out of the road when the accident occurred.
Tesla has come under fire before concerning how its Autopilot system dealt with stationary responder vehicles. The NHTSA claimed in 2021 to have received about 14 reports on crashes such as this when the Autopilot system was activated.
This investigation could also have a wider implication on driving assisted technology as whole. Federal auto regulators have argued that these systems could become addictive to the extent that drivers hand over control to them most of the time and become too distracted to take control when they should.
These Tesla cases are coming at a difficult point in the company’s existence. Despite rallying its shares price in January 2023 to recover the nearly 60% value loss it suffered the year before, it has been unable to maintain the momentum.
As of March 2023, Tesla shares price was down by more than 12% over the past one month and was still plunging.
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