Sixteen Tesla crashes are the focus of a federal investigation into incidents in which a car using Autopilot ran into a stationary emergency vehicle on a highway.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary evaluation in August 2021 and upgraded it to an engineering analysis in June 2022.

All the Teslas in the cases under study were confirmed to have been using Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control. Most of the crashes were at night, and flashing lights, flares or cones had been deployed near the stopped vehicles.

The crashes caused one death — a Tesla passenger — and 15 injuries.

The August 2021 summary from the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation included these findings:

• Collision warnings were activated in the majority of incidents immediately before impact, and Automatic Emergency Braking intervened in about half of them.

• On average, Autopilot aborted vehicle control less than 1 second before the first impact.

• Where incident video was available, it indicated the emergency scene would have been visible to the driver an average of 8 seconds before impact.

• Data for 11 of the collisions indicated that all of the drivers had their hands on the steering wheel and none took evasive action 2 to 5 seconds before impact.

The map above shows the approximate locations of the 16 crashes. Minimal information was released on five of them.

The cases under investigation:

1/ Culver City, California, Jan. 22, 2018: A Tesla Model S hit a fire truck parked at an accident scene on Interstate 405. The fire truck, at the left side of the lanes, had CHP vehicles with flashing lights parked behind it and to the right. No injuries were reported.

2/ Norwalk, Connecticut, Dec. 7, 2019:  As a pair of state troopers attended to a disabled car on Interstate 95, a Tesla Model 3 struck their parked cruiser and then the disabled vehicle. The cruiser had its emergency lights on, and there were flares on the roadway.  No injuries were reported. The Tesla driver reportedly said he had put the car on Autopilot so he could check on his dog in the backseat.

3/ Cloverdale, Indiana, Dec. 29, 2019: A Tesla Model 3 driven by a 25-year-old Arizona man hit a fire truck parked at the scene of an earlier crash on Interstate 70. The Tesla driver suffered serious injuries, and his wife was killed. The truck was badly damaged, but no firefighters were inside it at the time.

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Source:: The Mercury News


Map: These 16 Tesla crashes are part of a federal investigation into Autopilot

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