NHTSA announces investigation after Tesla Model Y crashes into semi [Update]

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it is launching an investigation into a crash last week involving a Tesla Model Y and semi truck.

On Monday the NHTSA said it will be sending a team of investigators to Detroit, Michigan to investigate the crash that left the driver and passenger with critical injuries.

The NHTSA is likely investigating the crash due to its similarities to two other crashes involving Tesla vehicles that happened in 2016 and 2019 in Florida. In both of those cases it was reported that the Autopilot feature was active at the time of the crash,

Detroit Police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood could not confirm if Autopilot was active in this latest accident. “It’s still under investigation,” she said.

UPDATE: At a press briefing Tuesday, Detroit Police Assistant Chief David LeValley said statements made by the driver and video evidence show some evasive maneuvers before the crash, indicating Autopilot was not active at the time of crash (via Reuters).

Given the location of the accident and the force with which the Model Y was pushed under the semi to the point of the nose of the vehicle sticking out the other side (travelling over the posted speed limit), it is unlikely the driver-assist feature was active.

The decision by the NHTSA to launch the investigation may seem like the government agency is targeting Tesla, considering this crash that also happened last week on I-15 in California.

Semi crash I15
Photo by Michael Puckett

 

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