Home Business Feds investigate why a Tesla crashed into a truck Friday, killing driver – Ars Technica

Feds investigate why a Tesla crashed into a truck Friday, killing driver – Ars Technica

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The National Transportation Safety Board is dispatching a team of investigators to Delray Beach, Fla., to investigate a Friday morning crash that killed the driver of a Tesla Model 3. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the crash.

According to the preliminary report of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office obtained by Eletrek, a semi truck was making a left turn onto SR 7 when the Model 3 crashed into it from the side. The Model 3 passed under the trailer, shearing off the top of the vehicle. The driver—who was identified by NBC News as 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner—died at the scene of the crash.

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The sheriff’s report indicates that the truck driver stopped at a stop sign before initiating his left-hand turn. The Tesla vehicle traveled for an additional 0.3 miles (around 500 meters) before coming to a stop.

It’s not known whether Autopilot was active at the time of the crash. A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment.

Feds have other open Tesla-related investigations

The NTSB is looking into a January 2018 crash in which a Tesla Model S crashed into a parked fire truck while Autopilot was engaged. Another NTSB investigation is probing an August 2017 crash where a Tesla vehicle burst into flame after running into a garage in Lake Forrest, Calif. NHTSA, meanwhile, is investigating a May 2018 crash involving a Tesla Model S in Salt Lake City, Utah. No one was killed in these crashes.

Another NTSB investigation is looking into the March 2018 death of Tesla owner Walter Huang. Autopilot was engaged when his vehicle steered into a concrete freeway lane divider.

Yesterday’s crash is similar to the 2016 crash that killed Florida Tesla owner Joshua Brown—the first Autopilot-related fatality.

In that incident, a truck made a left-hand turn in front of Brown’s vehicle. Brown had Autopilot engaged, but the software failed to recognize the side of the white truck trailer against the bright daytime sky. The Tesla Model S crashed into the side of the trailer at full speed. As in yesterday’s incident, the 2016 crash sheared off the top of Brown’s car and killed the driver almost instantly.

The NTSB ultimately concluded that Tesla bore some of the blame for that crash. NHTSA’s findings in the crash were more favorable to Tesla, but a key statistic from that report has since been discredited.

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