Reuters talked to the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS). They confirmed what the Tesla driver said to the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) at the crash scene: Autopilot was active, and the driver did not see the motorcyclist before the collision.
This is the second investigation involving Autopilot and motorcycles that NHTSA has opened in a matter of two weeks. Last week, the safety regulator started checking more closely a fatal crash that happened on July 7 on the Riverside Freeway. A Tesla Model Y hit the Yamaha V-Star Marvin Walker was riding in the HOV, throwing him away from it. Walker also died at the scene; he was 48.
On June 12, NHTSA announced it was upgrading its preliminary evaluation (PE) on Autopilot to an engineering analysis (EA), which is considered the last step before the safety regulator deems a recall is needed. There is no perspective of when such a recall will be ordered, but Reuters reminds us that it could involve 830,000 vehicles solely in the U.S. Other countries may follow suit.
In Germany, Tesla was recently convicted to buy back a Model X because Autopilot was considered defective. The company will have to pay €112,000 ($113,691 at the current exchange rate).
With this case, NHTSA is now investigating 39 Tesla crashes involving Autopilot. These collisions have provoked 19 deaths. Sadly, Marvin Walker and Landon Embry are just the most recent ones.