NHTSA is opening two more Tesla crash investigations

Tesla vehicles will be on display June 3, 2022 at a sales and service center in Vista, California.

Mike Blake | Reuters

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two other special accident investigations into the incidents involved Tesla electric vehicles, and where the company’s advanced driver assistance systems were believed to be a cause of the accident.

Tesla now offers a standard driver assistance package called Autopilot in all of its new vehicles. It also sells additional features in a package marketed as Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving in the US, which costs $15,000, or $199 per month. The company also allows some owners to access features not fully debugged as part of its FSD beta program and test those features on public roads.

None of the company’s cars are autonomous yet, and no vehicle manufacturer is selling a driverless car in the US today 2017, but the company never completed that demonstration.

Among the new accidents added to NHTSA’s investigative list this month was a Thanksgiving Day collision involving eight cars after a driver in a 2021 Tesla Model S maneuvered erratically through lanes on the San Francisco Bay Bridge had.

The driver of the Model S, Tesla’s premium sedan, claimed he was using the company’s full self-driving capabilities, according to California Highway Patrol records, CNN first reported.

Another recent crash added to the NHTSA list involved a 2020 Tesla Model 3, the company’s entry-level sedan.

According to data obtained by NHTSA for CNBC, the agency is investigating at least 41 accidents involving Tesla vehicles that involved automated features such as automatic emergency braking or more advanced driver assistance system features included in Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta.

The records show that 14 of these earlier investigations involved accidental fatalities.

The company also faces consumer lawsuits and a state and federal scrutiny of its safety claims and marketing practices. The California DMV has accused Tesla of falsely advertising its driver assistance systems.

In a recent response to a consumer lawsuit filed in California, Tesla said its “failure” to meet its “long-term, ambitious goal” did not constitute fraud and that it would only achieve autonomous driving “through constant and consistent improvement.”

Tesla shares fell Thursday after news of the crash investigation. Investors also fear weaker global demand for the company’s electric cars.

Amid tough economic conditions, Tesla recently offered steep discounts on its cars in the US, Canada, Mexico and China. Tesla shares have also been weighed on by investor concerns that CEO Elon Musk is distracted and hurting the Tesla brand with his controversial management of Twitter and his inflammatory political statements on the social media platform.

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