US to probe fatal Indiana crash involving Tesla Model 3

January 08, 2020 - 5:47 pm

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government's road safety agency is sending a special team to Indiana to investigate a fatal crash involving a Tesla electric vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that its team will check the crash scene and inspect the Model 3 vehicle involved in the Dec. 29 crash with a parked firetruck on Interstate 70 near Terre Haute.

The crash, which killed the driver's wife who was a passenger in the Tesla, is the second one to be investigated in the past two weeks by NHTSA. Also on Dec. 29, a Tesla Model S sedan left a freeway in Gardena, California, at a high speed, ran a red light and struck a Honda Civic, killing two people inside, police said. The agency dispatched its special crash investigation unit to the site on New Year's Eve.

Authorities have yet to determine in either case whether the Teslas were operating on Autopilot, a system designed to keep a car in its lane and a safe distance from other vehicles. Autopilot also can change lanes on its own.

Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. The company contends that Teslas with Autopilot are safer than vehicles without it, but cautions that the system does not prevent all crashes.

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