Feds probe Tesla crash and fire in which 2 teens killed

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a Tesla crash in Florida this week that killed two high school students - the second fatal accident involving a Tesla in the past six weeks. A spokesperson tells USA Today that "had Autopilot been engaged it would have limited the vehicle's speed to 35mph or less on this street".

It is not the first time that one of Tesla Motors' electric vehicles gets involved in a auto crash. The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, the latest crash follows two other Tesla auto accidents this year.

Local police believe speed was a factor in Tuesday's crash, which happened on a stretch of roadway locals call "Dead Man's Curve".

Commenting on the accident, Tesla said, "We have not yet been able to retrieve the logs from the vehicle, but everything we have seen thus far indicates a very high-speed collision and that Autopilot was not engaged".

Tesla said a failure to fix a highway safety barrier contributed to the accident. The incident sparked questions about the safety of the Autopilot mode.

In September, after an investigation, the NTSB determined that a truck driver's failure to yield the right of way and a Tesla driver's inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation were the cause of a fatal crash on May 7, 2016, in Florida.

"The goal of these investigations is to understand the impact of these emerging transportation technologies when they are part of a transportation accident", he said.

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The agency is also investigating another Tesla-related fire after a Model X SUV crashed on a freeway in California in March.

To make matters worse following the March incident, Tesla and the NTSB were at odds after Tesla released vetted information about the crash while the investigation was still open.

This NTSB investigation primarily focus on emergency response in relation to the electric vehicle battery fire, including fire department activities and towing operations. Tesla said a few days later the vehicle had been in autonomous mode when it crashed.

In 2013, the Model S received a higher safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) than any auto the agency had previously tested.

The crash remains under investigation by the NTSB.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this tragedy".

As a result, Tesla is no longer a party to the agency's investigation, though it said it would continue to assist the agency.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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