The Feds Are Seriously Concerned With Tesla's Most Recent Fatal Crash

Crash / 34 Comments

This one was hardcore.

Tesla is not having a great time at the moment. While its incalculable CEO Elon Musk blows up rockets, lays off workers, and spawns new children, the EV giant is embroiled in continuous investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stretching back as far as 2016 for accidents involving Tesla vehicles, especially those fitted with the company's self-driving Autopilot system. There are currently 37 ongoing investigations, the latest concerning a Tesla Model S crash in Florida that claimed the lives of two people. Tesla has been making headlines in recent years for Autopilot crashes, many of which end up being fatal, and this most recent crash was so intense that it's casting a serious shadow over any progress Tesla has made in recent months.

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The horrifying accident, which resulted in the deaths of both occupants traveling in the Tesla, took place on July 6 at a rest area off Interstate 75 near Paynes Prairie, Florida. The 2015 Model S hit a stationary Walmart truck, resulting in the car's roof shearing off completely. This horrific scene is not new to the NHTSA, which has recorded numerous incidents where Tesla vehicles have been involved in accidents with stationary vehicles. According to news reports, the Tesla was exiting the highway when it hit the truck standing still in the rest area. Judging by the damage done to the Model S, the car had to have been traveling at a high speed, which places into question who was in control of the car at that moment. Was it the driver speeding off the highway or an Autopilot glitch? The NHTSA is investigating.

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Currently, the NHTSA continues to wrap its head around self-driving technology, with the agency still coming to grips with how to rate various driver assistance and self-driving tech. Thus far, the NHTSA has recorded over 17 deaths from Tesla-involved crashes that involved self-driving tech. Despite lofty promises and idealistic naming conventions, Tesla's Autopilot and Full Self Driving beta systems remain Level 2 ADAS systems. Tesla recommends that drivers remain alert and ready to take over driving responsibilities at a moment's notice.

Yes, the onus remains upon the driver to ensure that the car is operated in a safe manner, and Tesla is doing its best to prevent more incidents, but questions remain. Should all so-called self-driving tech be banned until it is perfected (in a safe environment)? Should these features be renamed? Should Tesla run commercials educating the public on how to use Autopilot and FSD and informing them of the dangers of abusing the systems? Let us know what you think.

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