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NHTSA now probing Tesla Model X rollover accident in PA for possible Autopilot involvement, Tesla updates its statement

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a statement confirming that it will investigate the recent Tesla Model X rollover accident in PA “to determine whether automated functions were in use at the time of the crash.”

Tesla also updated an earlier statement to clarify its review of the accident citing very little information about the event due to a lack of contact with the driver.

The accident happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last Friday when a Tesla Model X hit a guard rail, the concrete median and then rollover. The two occupants came out alive and after the fact, the police said that the driver claimed that the Autopilot was activated during the crash.

The automaker first said that it had “no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged”, but a spokesperson has since updated the statement clarifying that the company literally has no data:

“We received an automated alert from this vehicle on July 1 indicating airbag deployment, but logs containing detailed information on the state of the vehicle controls at the time of the collision were never received. This is consistent with damage of the severity reported in the press, which can cause the antenna to fail. As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were ok and offer support but were unable to reach him. We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.”

NHTSA is now collecting information from all parties involved to try to determine whether the Autopilot was activated during the crash. The regulator’s inquiry has likely something to do with its preliminary evaluation into the Autopilot following a fatal accident in May which resulted in the death of a Model S driver, Joshua Brown, while using the Autopilot on the highway in Florida.

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