The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is opening 27 investigations into accidents involving Tesla vehicles.
Four of the investigations have been completed, but no results appear to have yet been released. US News reports that at least three of the accidents under investigation have occurred in the past few weeks.
According to the report, the NHTSA Accident Investigation Task Force analyzes 100 accidents per year, focusing on new and emerging technologies, like Tesla’s autopilot.
In the past month, there have been two accidents in Michigan involving Tesla vehicles.
In a recent incident, a Tesla driver, who allegedly used autopilot at the time, put the back of a state police vehicle. Fortunately, no one was injured on this occasion.
In the other accident, a Tesla crashed into the trailer of a semi-articulated truck. The driver and passenger were both taken to hospital. The passenger is said to have suffered a “serious head trauma”. Initial investigations determined that the autopilot was not engaged at the time of this incident.
Despite a series of serious road traffic incidents involving Tesla vehicles over the past five years, NHTSA has remained passive.
However, as reports suggest, it appears the security organ will no longer stand back as serious incidents continue to occur. It comes as President Joe Biden seeks to take a closer look at the regulation of advanced driver assistance technology.
It is time too. It’s not as if serious incidents involving Teslas on autopilot are new.
There is still a lot of debate about the effectiveness of systems like Tesla’s autopilot. Although it is known to save drivers from potential accidents, its misuse can have devastating consequences.
We can only hope that NHTSA’s investigations will lead to valuable information that can help inform the regulation of advanced driver assistance systems like autopilot.
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Published March 19, 2021 – 09:04 UTC