The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is commencing an inquiry into a tragic collision that occurred involving a Tesla Model Y, marking a somber incident on July 19.
In the incident, a Tesla collided with a tractor-trailer truck in Virginia, resulting in the fatal injury of the car’s driver.
As reported by Reuters, regulatory authorities posit that the 57-year-old operator of the Tesla was depending on the manufacturer’s sophisticated driver assistance programs at the time of the mishap.
Additional insights into the accident were furnished by the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, which divulged that the tractor-trailer sought to maneuver onto a highway from a truck stop, only to be met by the Tesla that crashed into its side and consequently skidded beneath the trailer.
Tragically, the Tesla driver was declared deceased at the scene. Meanwhile, the truck driver has been issued a summons for exhibiting reckless driving behavior.
The summons explicitly attributes the incident to the truck driver’s actions; however, the NHTSA’s scrutiny is directed toward Tesla’s assistance program.
This program is designed to factor in errors originating from other motorists on the road. Hence, the NHTSA’s investigation.
Expanding on this front, the safety regulator has initiated over thirty inquiries into collisions involving Tesla vehicles and their advanced assistive algorithms. In totality, there is suspicion that the system has been implicated in twenty-three fatalities since the year 2016.
In the year 2021, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) urged the NHTSA to institute more stringent regulations regarding autonomous driving.
In a formal communication, the NTSB underscored that “Tesla is experimenting with a significantly automated autonomous vehicle technology on public roadways, yet with inadequate oversight or reporting obligations.”
Tesla’s exclusive Autopilot technology is designed to govern steering, acceleration, and braking actions within the car’s designated lane. Additionally, an upgraded system aids in the process of changing lanes while traversing highways.
Tesla explicitly asserts that the system is not entirely self-directed and necessitates continuous human oversight. Notably, the company has abstained from issuing any statements in response to Reuters’ request for commentary pertaining to the recent accident and the freshly-initiated inquiry.