The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Autopilot probe has added another crash to their list of Tesla vehicles that have collided with parked emergency vehicles. The government agency has also requested detailed information from the automaker, which if they don’t comply could result in fines of nearly $115 million.
The most recent crash happened on August 28 in Orlando, Florida when a Model 3 crashed into a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officer’s vehicle that was stopped on the side of Interstate 4 while assisting a disabled motorist. According to FHP Orlando, the driver reported that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.
Fortunately the trooper was unharmed, but both the driver of the Tesla and other vehicle sustained minor injuries.
Happening now: Orange County. Trooper stopped to help a disabled motorist on I-4. When Tesla driving on “auto” mode struck the patrol car. Trooper was outside of car and extremely lucky to have not been struck. #moveover. WB lanes of I-4 remain block as scene is being cleared. pic.twitter.com/w9N7cE4bAR
— FHP Orlando (@FHPOrlando) August 28, 2021
The NHTSA Autopilot probe has now expanded to include this crash, brining the total number of incidents under investigation to twelve.
In a letter dated August 31, 2021 and directed to Tesla’s Director, Field Quality Eddie Gates, the NHTSA is requesting a significant amount of data about the vehicles involved in the incidents under investigation, as well as information on all Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot.
Some of the information requested includes how Tesla vehicles detect a crash scene, flashing lights, road flares, reflective vests, and cars parked on the side of the road. They also want to know how vehicles respond in low light conditions, when emergency vehicles are present, and how it warns drivers of impending dangers (via Associated Press).
Tesla has until October 22, 2021 to provide the requested information. If it does not it could face fines of up to $114,954,525 USD.
You can read a full copy of the NHTSA letter here.