NHTSA investigates another Tesla crash involving death of motorcyclist

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening yet another special investigation into a Tesla vehicle crash, according to documents viewed by TechCrunch. This time it involves the crash of a 2021 Tesla Model Y that killed a motorcyclist in California earlier this month.

Reuters was the first to report the special investigation.

This is the 38th special investigation of a crash involving a Tesla vehicle since 2016. Of those crashes, 18 were fatal. The latest probe, like most of the others, seeks to ascertain whether or not Autopilot, Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system, was in use at the time of the crash.

Earlier this month, the NHTSA opened an investigation into one such fatal crash in which a pedestrian was killed and involved a 2018 Tesla Model 3 in California. The NHTSA also opened up special probes into another fatal Tesla crash, this one in Florida, which killed a 66-year-old Tesla driver and a 67-year-old passenger. In May, the agency began investigating a crash involving a 2022 Tesla Model S that killed three people.

The NHTSA declined to comment on the case, as it is still open. Local news reported that on July 7, a 48-year-old motorcyclist was killed after a collision on the Riverside Freeway in Riverside. He was riding in the HOV lane and was approached from behind by the Tesla. A crash then occurred that hurled the rider onto the freeway, according to My News LA.

The NHTSA usually opens more than 100 special crash investigations each year that probe emerging technologies.

Tesla cannot be reached for comment because it has disbanded its press office.

NHTSA probes Tesla Autopilot crash that killed three people

A U.S. federal agency is investigating a crash involving a 2022 Tesla Model S that may have been operating in Autopilot during a crash that killed three people.

Autopilot is Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) that performs automated functions such as steering, accelerating and automatic braking. Bloomberg first reported on the news.

The accident, which happened earlier this month, occurred in Newport Beach, California when the Tesla hit a curb and slammed into construction equipment, leaving the car totaled. This is one of more than 30 crashes being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all of which potentially have involved Autopilot. Out of the 35 special crash investigations into Tesla since 2016 involving the electric vehicle company’s ADAS, Autopilot has been ruled out only in three.

A total of 14 crash deaths have been reported in those investigations.

This month’s collision is the 42nd included in NHTSA’s special crash investigation of ADAS systems like Autopilot, a probe that began in 2016 after a fatal accident in Florida involving another Tesla Model S that had Autopilot activated.

While Tesla’s website says that “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the company’s branding has been accused of misleading drivers of their vehicles’ capabilities. Simply by choosing names like Autopilot and “full self-driving software,” which is Tesla’s newer, more advanced ADAS, the company lulls drivers into a false sense of security despite the fact that its technology is nowhere near full self-driving.