A special investigation has been launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) after a Tesla crash. The incident involved a 2021 Tesla Model Y and left a motorcyclist dead in California.
According to a Reuters news report, since 2016, NHTSA has opened 37 special investigations of crashes involving Tesla vehicles where driver-assist systems such as Autopilot were suspected of being used. Eighteen deaths were reported in those investigations relating to Tesla vehicles, including the most recent California motorcycle crash.
Deadly Motorcycle v Tesla Crash in Riverside
While the agency has declined to identify the specific crash that triggered this investigation, according to media reports, 48-year-old Marvin Walker of Lake Elsinore was fatally injured in the motorcycle accident on the eastbound 91 Freeway near Magnolia Avenue in Riverside.
When the Tesla approached from behind, California Highway Patrol officials said Walker was riding a Yamaha V-Star motorcycle in the HOV lane. The vehicles collided at “some point,” and Walker was ejected from the motorcycle. Officials said he was thrown onto the freeway and suffered major blunt-force trauma. He was pronounced dead shortly after that by responding paramedics.
Recent Tesla Autopilot Investigations
This is one of three special probes involving Tesla opened in recent weeks. Another investigation involves a Florida crash that killed a 66-year-old Tesla driver and a 67-year-old passenger. Yet another one was over a pedestrian accident in California involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3.
In June, the federal agency upgraded its defect investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, a required step before it can seek a recall. In August, the agency opened a preliminary evaluation to assess the performance of the Autopilot feature n 765,000 vehicles after at least a dozen crashes where Teslas struck emergency vehicles.
Our auto defect lawyers have been following these Tesla Autopilot cases. While we are for progress and groundbreaking technology, we have always maintained that it should never come at the cost of public safety. These technologies should be thoroughly vetted before they are put on the market. It increasingly seems like Tesla has not done its due diligence with the Autopilot system.