Feds Launch Investigation into Tesla Crash that Claimed the Life of Three-Month-Old Baby

Elon Musk watches SpaceX launch
Joe Raedle /Getty

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated a new special crash investigation into a fatal accident involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 in California. The crashed killed the 17-year-old driver of the other car and caused injuries that later claimed the life of a three-month-old baby riding in the Tesla.

Reuters reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new special crash investigation into a fatal accident involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 in California. The probe is centered around the potential involvement of the vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems at the time of the incident.

California Tesla Crash

California Tesla Crash (Contra Costa County Fire Protection District via AP)

Elon Musk celebrates Texas

Elon Musk celebrates Texas (SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty)

The NHTSA’s announcement on Tuesday confirmed the initiation of this new investigation. The crash involved a head-on collision between the Tesla and a Subaru sedan on July 5 in South Lake Tahoe, California. The crash killed the driver of the Subaru and injured three others. One of the injured, a three-month-old baby, died from the injuries several days later.

The NHTSA has launched over more than 30 special crash investigations into Tesla incidents. In these cases, it was suspected that advanced driver assistance systems, such as Autopilot, were in use. These investigations have collectively reported 20 crash deaths.

The NHTSA is also investigating another fatal Tesla crash. As Breitbart News reported, this incident involved a 2014 model year Tesla and a fire truck in Contra Costa County, California. According to the fire department, a Tesla collided with one of its fire trucks, leading to the Tesla driver’s death at the scene.

The Wall Street Journal reports that early in the morning on February 18, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District fire truck was parked across two lanes of Intestate 680 to block traffic while first responders assisted with the towing of a disabled vehicle when a Tesla vehicle smashed into it. A passenger in the Tesla was taken to the hospital in critical condition, while the driver of the electric car was pronounced dead at the scene. All four of the truck’s firefighters had their seatbelts on, and were taken to the hospital with luckily minor injuries.


It is not yet known if the Tesla driver had engaged Elon Musk’s “Autopilot” software, and the cause of the crash is still being investigated. The purpose of the Autopilot system is to help drivers with activities like steering and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Regulators and safety advocates, however, have recently begun to question the system due to many accidents involving Tesla cars, particularly those involving emergency vehicles. Despite Tesla’s claims that drivers should remain attentive with Autopilot engaged, one recent viral video showed a woman appearing to be asleep behind the wheel as she relies on Autopilot to keep her on the road.

The NHTSA’s investigations extend beyond these individual cases. In June, the federal agency escalated its defect investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles. These vehicles, equipped with the Autopilot driver assistance system, have been implicated in crashes with parked emergency vehicles, including fire trucks.

The NHTSA confirmed in June that it had upgraded its defect probe to an engineering analysis. This is a necessary step before the agency can demand a recall.

Read more at Reuters here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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