The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration just opened up 27 new investigations of Teslas that have been involved in crashes. At least three of these crashes have happened just within the last few weeks. Four of the Tesla investigations have already been completed. The oldest case is from 2013.
One of the most recent crashes occurred in Houston. The NHTSA is sending an investigation team there now according to Automotive News. It is also sending a team to Michigan to look into two separate crashes including one that happened two days ago. That is the publicized accident where a Tesla hit a parked State Police car.
NHTSA’s interest centers around Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system
Part of the NHTSA’s interest centers around the advanced driver assistance system. In at least some of the accidents, the system was engaged when incidents occurred. In the case of the Tesla hitting the Michigan Police car it hit so hard it wedged underneath the car. Amazingly, the 22-year-old driver was not hurt.
Another investigation team will look into the “violent” crash on March 11 in Detroit. In this one, the Tesla left a passenger in critical condition after it wedged itself underneath a tractor-trailer. Police have said they don’t suspect Tesla’s Autopilot was in use during this accident. At least three recent fatal Tesla crashes happened with the Autopilot feature engaged.
NHTSA’s investigation team gets involved in 100 accidents a year
The NHTSA’s investigation team will get involved in around 100 accidents every year. It mostly concentrates on new technology and how it affects driving and safety. Alternative fuel vehicles, child restraint systems, adaptive controls, safety belts, pedestrian accidents, and safety defects are all on the NHTSA’s radar.
NHTSA has been versed in Tesla’s Full Self Driving software
The NHTSA did say it has been versed in Tesla’s Full Self Driving software. Tesla has expanded the FSD’s use to about 2,000 Tesla owners in beta testing. Already the NHTSA says it is monitoring its use and will pull it from use should safety risks occur.
Reiterating what Tesla has already said the NHTSA says that FSD does not allow the car to drive itself. Drivers with the system must be attentive, monitoring the car and surrounding environment at all times, and have their hands on the steering wheel.