Tesla Model S fatal crash prompts NHTSA investigation


Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

A deadly crash on Sunday that involved a Tesla Model S is now the subject of an inquiry by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA announced late Tuesday that it is dispatching its special crash investigation team to look into the incident, according to news reports.

Two people died in the crash, and two others were injured, when the Tesla vehicle allegedly ran a red light and collided with a Honda Civic, according to an NBC News affiliate and others. The crash happened in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena.

A spokesman for the NHTSA declined to say whether Tesla’s Autopilot driver assist function played a role in the crash, according to Bloomberg. The agency’s special crash investigation team has investigated about a dozen crashes of Tesla vehicles that were thought to involve the Autopilot capability, the Associated Press reported.

In early December, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a state police cruiser on the side of a highway in Connecticut. The driver in that incident told police he had engaged the Autopilot, which isn’t a fully self-driving system, and was checking on his dog in the back seat.

Neither Tesla nor the NHTSA immediately responded to a request for comment.

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