June 28, 2023
Police say a Tesla had Autopilot engaged when its 18-year-old driver crashed into the back of a truck on a Pennsylvania highway last week.
According to the June 23 police report, the driver of the 2016 Tesla was traveling in the middle lane of I-76 east when it crashed into the back of a truck that was stopped providing traffic control for a road work lane closure. The Tesla lost control and struck the back of the vehicle.
No injuries were reported and the driver was charged with careless driving, according to the report.
The report stated that “Unit #1 lost control due to Unit #1 being on auto pilot which then struck the attenuator located on the rear end of Unit #2 with the front-end portion of Unit #1.”
Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology can assist with steering, braking and lane changes, but they do not make Teslas fully autonomous and cars running the technology require drivers’ full attention.
Tesla’s Autopilot has been under scrutiny, following several incidents this year involving its self-driving software. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been looking into how the technology performs as it probes several fatal crashes involving Teslas, as well as an investigation into a series of collisions with first responder vehicles being escalated.
In February, the EV manufacturer confirmed that Tesla’s driver-assistance technology was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In March, the NHTSA confirmed it was opening a special investigation into a February fatal crash involving a Model S sedan in California. The probe centered on the vehicle hitting a fire truck killing the Tesla’s driver and seeks to establish if Tesla’s driver-assistance tech was in use at the time.
Also in March, the NHTSA was looking into two complaints of “steering wheels detaching from the steering column due to the absence of the retaining bolt” on Tesla’s Model Y. Both incidents occurred at “low vehicle mileage.”
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