NTSB Closes Investigation Into Fatal August 2020 Tesla Crash And Will Take “No Further Action”

NTSB Closes Investigation Into Fatal August 2020 Tesla Crash And Will Take “No Further Action”

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before…

In keeping with the track record of complete and total inaction related to Tesla from U.S. safety regulators, the NTSB closed an investigation into a fatal August 2020 Tesla crash without taking any action.

The car in question was a 2019 Model 3 that was using Autopilot at the time of the accident. An investigation found that the driver was “manually pressing the accelerator pedal causing the vehicle to go into override mode when it struck the rear of a minivan,” according to Reuters

The Tesla was doing 110 miles per hour when it struck a truck, the report says. It then caught fire, resulting in the death of the driver and his wife, who was in the car. 

The report says that Tesla issued numerous alerts to the 75 year old driver since his hands were not detected on the wheel during Autopilot’s use. 

The NTSB concluded that the Tesla was doing 68 miles per hour before the driver manually sped the car up to 72 miles per hour. Then, the car’s automatic emergency braking kicked in, slowing the car.

The driver then increased pressure on the accelerator to 95%, the report says, before striking the minivan at “speeds recorded up to 114”. 

The investigation had initially been to “support the NTSB’s interest in automated vehicle performance,” the agency said. After reviewing the facts, “no further action beyond this memorandum will be taken,” the NTSB said in a memo out this week.

Recall, in late October, the NTSB said that it was “deeply concerned” about Tesla’s failure to respond to its safety recommendations.

Between the NTSB and the NHTSA, the latter of whom is in the midst of an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot, the NTSB has no regulatory authority and “relies instead on its powers of persuasion on government and industry”.

The NTSB had called on Tesla and other automakers to make improvements in its automation system back in 2017. 

Last month the NTSB had also urged Tesla to address safety concerns associated with its vehicles already before expanding its self-driving features further, Bloomberg reported.

Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said: “Basic safety issues have to be addressed before they then expand it to other city streets and other areas.”

Homendy continued, arguing that the term ‘full self-driving’ was “misleading and irresponsible,” according to Bloomberg. It was easily one of the boldest critical statements by a meaningful regulator about the “product” since its inception. 

The NTSB has been far more critical of Tesla over the last few years than the NHTSA has been. So far, the NHTSA has failed to follow the NTSB’s lead. Time will tell as to whether or not the NHTSA’s “formal” investigation into Autopilot could signal a shift of sentiment. 

Recall, in late summer we reported that regulators at the NHTSA in the United States had finally come to their senses and opened the long-overdue investigation. The NHTSA said the investigation includes Tesla’s Model X, S and 3 for model years 2014-2021. 

Tyler Durden
Wed, 11/17/2021 – 09:04

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