Government investigating Tesla autopilot's role in latest crash

The latest Tesla autopilot crash would be the 12th probed by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into whether autopilot was responsible for the crash of a Tesla Model 3 into a parked police car.

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On Dec. 7, a 2018 Model 3 rear-ended a Connecticut trooper who was stationary on Interstate 95 waiting for a tow truck called for a disabled vehicle. The Tesla driver said his car was on autopilot and he was checking his dog in the backseat when the collision occurred, Fox News reported.

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This is not the only accident attributed to Tesla’s autopilot. The system is the suspected cause of several fatal crashes over the past three years.

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NHTSA concluded that autopilot was engaged when a 2015 Tesla Model S 70-D collided with a tractor-trailer, killing the car’s driver in 2016.

This photo provided by Tesla shows a 2017 Tesla Model 3, a vehicle that has a semiautonomous driving system called Autopilot. (Courtesy of Tesla via AP)

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“There were no indications the Tesla driver provided any steering or braking inputs to avoid the crash,” according to the agency's report. The report also indicated that driver visibility was “clear and unobstructed,” however there were “multiple sources of possible distraction” inside the vehicle.

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In a similar event in California in March of 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary findings suggested that a Tesla Model X using autopilot failed to detect a highway barrier and accelerated, killing the car’s driver, FOX Business reported.

The NHTSA is investigating 10 other incidents over the past few years to determine whether autopilot played a role, FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn reported.

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