WASHINGTON – The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Friday it would send a team to investigate a Tesla vehicle crash this week that killed two people in Coral Gables, Florida.
Coral Gables police have said it is unclear whether the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle involved in a crash in a residential area on Monday evening was using the company’s driver-assistance system called Autopilot. The two killed were badly burnt and their identity is yet to be ascertained.
The NTSB, which makes safety recommendations but does not regulate automakers, said its investigation would focus on the operation of the vehicle and the post-accident fire that consumed it after hitting a tree. The agency said three NTSB investigators would arrive in the area on Monday.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The NTSB has previously investigated three fatal Tesla crashes involving Autopilot. Autopilot handles some driving tasks such as steering, braking and acceleration and allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel at times, but Tesla has said that drivers should still actively monitor the vehicle while using the system.
Tesla vehicles have large battery packs that sometimes engage in long fires after accidents.
The NTSB is also investigating the April Tesla crash in Texas that killed two people. Local police have said they believe the accident was caused by no one in the driver’s seat.
Another federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has said it is collecting information about the Coral Gables accident, but has not decided whether to send an accident investigation team.
NHTSA launched a formal safety investigation in August after 11 accidents involving 765,000 Tesla vehicles and Autopilot that involved first-responders such as police or fire engines.
The agency has also opened 33 individual investigations into Tesla crashes involving 11 deaths since 2016 that suspected the use of advanced driver assistance systems. NHTSA has denied the use of autopilot in three accidents that were non-fatal.
by David Shepardson and Hyunju Jinyu
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times