KEY POINTS

  • The NHSTA is yet to know if the EV is on Autopilot during the crash
  • Elon Musk made it clear that Tesla's FSD is still in beta
  • He also reminded Tesla owners to pay attention to the road

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) is currently investigating a recent car crash involving a Tesla sedan and a tractor-trailer in Detroit last week.

According to a report from Reuters, a 21-year-old female passenger of the Tesla (model unnamed) was left in critical condition due to severe head injuries from the crash. The team looking into the case is not ruling out the possibility of the carmaker's Autopilot technology contributing to the accident.

"NHTSA is aware of the violent crash that occurred on March 11 in Detroit involving a Tesla and a tractor-trailer. We have launched a Special Crash Investigation (SCI) team to investigate the crash," the agency said in a statement issued earlier this week.

As of writing, the group has not yet determined if the vehicle was on Autopilot mode when it hit the tractor-trailer and was wedged underneath.

This is not the first time Musk's electric car company became the subject of scrutiny by the NHSTA.

More than a dozen SCI teams were dispatched in the past to examine if previous Tesla accidents could be related to the marque's hands-free driving assistance platform. To date, around three were confirmed to have engaged Autopilot mode before figuring in fatal crashes in the United States since 2016.

Meanwhile, there have been multiple recorded instances wherein Tesla automobiles with Autopilot activated crashed into other vehicles as well as stationary objects, reported CNBC.

One of the fatal crashes happened on March 1, 2019, when a Tesla Model 3 driven by 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner of Lake Worth, Florida, collided with a semi-trailer. The accident sheared off the roof of the all-electric four-door fastback and led to the death of its driver.

Another similar and fatal incident took place in 2016 when a Tesla Model S on Autopilot driven by Joshua Brown struck a tractor-trailer.

Musk made it clear that Tesla's FSD is still in beta and reminded owners to pay attention to the road. In fact, the company revoked the beta access of several drivers who were flagged for non-compliance with the feature’s safety protocols.

Tesla plans a massive recall of Model S sedans and Model X SUVs to fix a computer memory issue that could cause the backup camera and other saftey features to fail Tesla plans a massive recall of Model S sedans and Model X SUVs to fix a computer memory issue that could cause the backup camera and other saftey features to fail Photo: GETTY / JUSTIN SULLIVAN