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Tesla is under scrutiny from feds again over crash with semi truck

Tesla is again under scrutiny from the US federal government over a Tesla vehicle that crashed into the trailer of a semi truck in Detroit.

In 2016, 45-year-old Joshua Brown died in a collision with a truck while using the Autopilot of his Tesla Model S in Florida.

The accident was highly publicized as the first fatal crash in a Tesla using Autopilot.

Neither Brown nor Autopilot managed to see the trailer of a truck crossing the highway, and the car ended up going underneath the trailer. Autopilot drove a significant distance before coming to a stop.

It sparked a federal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system, and eventually, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed its investigation without finding any defect or issuing any recall.

Another similar accident happened in a Model 3 in 2019.

Now we learn of a third one that happened in Detroit last week. This time it wasn’t fatal, but it resulted in serious injuries of the two people in the Tesla.

According to the accident report, the Tesla crashed into the the trailer of a semi-truck, and the front half of the electric car lodged itself underneath the trailer.

At this time, it is unclear if the vehicle was using Autopilot, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it has launched an investigation.

As we previously reported, the NTSB has often scrutinized Tesla accidents and has often criticized the automaker for its Autopilot features.

However, the NTSB has no power over automakers, unlike the NHTSA, which has now also announced today that it is investigating the accident: 

 NHTSA is aware of the violent crash that occurred on March 11 in Detroit involving a Tesla and a tractor trailer. We have launched a Special Crash Investigation team to investigate the crash.

Again, at this point, we don’t know if Autopilot was involved in the accident.

Electrek’s Take

At this point, I am not sure what they are looking for with those accidents.

Like the previous ones, even if Autopilot was active and didn’t detect the trailer, it’s not new information.

We know that Autopilot is currently not able to detect and react to all objects on the road, which is why drivers need to be alert and ready to take control at all times.

If anything, those accidents are reminders to always stay vigilant when using Autopilot.

When it comes to the trailer accidents, maybe they could look into enforcing regulations that force trailers to be equipped with guards:

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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