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NHTSA Will Investigate Two Fatal Crashes Involving Tesla EVs – One More Can Be Included

On June 6, a 2015 Tesla Model S crashed against the back of a tractor-trailer in Gainsville, and two people died. When we reported it, we were not sure who was investigating the incident. Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was quick to say it already had this wreck under scrutiny. It is also investigating a pedestrian death caused by a Tesla. Unfortunately, another fatal crash involving a Tesla happened on June 7.
2018 Tesla Model 3 goes airborne, kills pedestrian – is Autopilot involved? 13 photos
Tesla Crashes Against Emergency Vehicle in Laguna Beach, CaliforniaTesla Crashes Against Emergency Vehicle in Laguna Beach, CaliforniaTesla Crashes Against Emergency Vehicle in Laguna Beach, CaliforniaTesla Crashes Against Emergency Vehicle in Laguna Beach, CaliforniaTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol CarTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol CarTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol CarTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol CarTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol CarTesla Model 3 on Autopilot Crashes Against FHP Patrol Car2015 Tesla Model S crashed against the rear of a tractor-trailer: was Autopilot involved?2018 Tesla Model 3 goes airborne, kills pedestrian – is Autopilot involved?
The incident that NHTSA is already investigating took place in Kearny Mesa, California. Frank Shoaf was driving his 2018 Tesla Model 3 westbound on Othello Avenue when he ran a red light at the intersection with Convoy Street. After hitting a dip, the car went airborne and hit a 40-year-old woman. The unidentified lady was taken to a hospital and died from the injuries there.

According to NBC 7, Shoaf failed a sobriety test and admitted to the police that he was “huffing,” which means he was inhaling paint or solvents to get high. After the crash, still on the scene, he asked for “another hit.” NHTSA seems to be investigating this because Shoaf may have activated Autopilot to avoid driving. If it was clear he did not engage the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the safety regulator would probably have ruled it as a sad but trivial traffic incident.

The wreck that is still not verified by NHTSA occurred on the eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway in Corona, California, close to Magnolia Avenue. At 4:45 AM, a motorcyclist was on the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane when a Tesla Model Y hit his Yamaha V-Star. Ejected from the motorcycle, the rider was pronounced dead on the scene by the Riverside Fire Department paramedics. According to Patch, the police ruled out alcohol or drugs, and the driver was not arrested.

The circumstances suggest the Model Y driver got distracted, which is something that can happen with overreliance on Autopilot. In other words, they may have activated the ADAS and forgotten about monitoring the road. There is no word about road conditions or fog, which could have made it more challenging to see the motorcycle on the HOV lane.

NHTSA may soon add this new crash to its investigations on Tesla vehicles. If the agency confirms Autopilot or FSD were engaged, that will be a dark new record for Tesla: four people killed in only two days. Let’s wait for what the safety regulator can tell us about these crashes.



 
 
 
 
 

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