A fatal crash involving a Tesla is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), according to Reuters. The accident happened on December 29 in Gardena, California and left two people dead.
- NHTSA is investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S.
- The accident occurred when the Tesla ran through a red light.
- It struck another vehicle, killing two people.
KTLA reports the crash happened around 12:45 a.m. when a Tesla Model S exited the 91 Freeway at high speed and then ran a red light. The car hit a 2006 Honda Civic, killing the driver and passenger in that vehicle. The driver and passenger in the Tesla were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Self-driving features like Autopilot still require a human at the wheel. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the crash and NHTSA announced it is also launching an investigation in order to determine what happened. It’s unclear whether the driver of the Tesla was using Autopilot.
NHTSA has a special crash investigation team that will be looking at both the car and the scene of the crash. So far, that team has investigated 13 crashes involving Teslas that NHTSA believes were using Autopilot when they crashed. At least three fatal crashes since 2016 involved Tesla vehicles with Autopilot engaged.
The National Transportation Safety Board has expressed concern about the lack of safeguards when Autopilot is engaged. Although Tesla warns drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their attention on the road, the agency believes the system makes it possible for drivers to disengage from driving and not give full attention to the task.
WHY THIS MATTERS
While it’s not yet know if Autopilot was engaged in the Gardena crash, NHTSA’s quick investigation announcement hints at its concern for how Autopilot might be used. Despite warnings, drivers who don’t pay attention when this type of software is engaged are a danger.