U.S. DOT Finds No ‘Safety-Related Defect Trend’ After Tesla Autopilot Probe

U.S. DOT Finds No ‘Safety-Related Defect Trend’ After Tesla Autopilot Probe

Data suggests that Tesla's driver-assistance technology might actually improve safety.

Federal regulators have closed their investigation into a May 2016 collision that killed the driver of a Tesla Model S that was operating in Autopilot mode, concluding that there were no defects in Tesla’s driver-assistance technology.

After analyzing data from Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles equipped with Autopilot, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also determined that the system might actually improve safety – noting that crash rates were 40 percent lower for Tesla vehicles that have the Autopilot technology.

“A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted,” NHTSA said in its report. “Accordingly, this investigation is closed.”

In a Tweet, Tesla founder Elon Musk called the findings “very positive.”

On May 7, 2016, a 2015 Tesla Model S collided with a tractor-trailer crossing an intersection on a highway west of Williston, Fla., killing the Tesla driver. According to NHTSA, data from the Model S indicated that the Tesla was operating in Autopilot mode at the time of the collision, and the vehicle’s automatic emergency braking system did not provide any warning or automated braking for the collision.

Data from the vehicle also showed that the driver did not take any actions to avoid the collision – which occurred on a clear day with dry road conditions – and the driver’s last recorded action was increasing the cruise control to 74 mph, about two minutes before the crash.

In June 2016, NHTSA launched a probe to “examine the design and performance of any automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash.”

Among the agency’s findings, NHTSA asserted that the fatal May 2016 crash “appears to have involved a period of extended [driver] distraction.” The agency noted that Tesla’s driver-assistance system “requires the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.”

You May Also Like

NABC to Host Three Golf Fundraisers in 2024

The NABC Changing and Saving Lives golf fundraisers provide an opportunity to join industry colleagues and customers for great golf and support the NABC.

The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced it will be hosting three golf fundraising events in 2024 through the new Changing and Saving Lives Foundation, making sponsorship and golf donations tax-deductible for companies and participants. It also will continue to offer the popular full-season sponsorship program, making it more affordable and more efficient to be a partner in the NABC golf events.

BodyShop Business Honors Thomas Baunach with National Award

BodyShop Business recently recognized Thomas Baunach, an ASE-certified collision technician from Bethlehem, Pa., with the 2023 BodyShop Business/ASE Master Collision Repair & Refinish Technician of the Year award.

Are You the Oldest Body Shop in America?

We’re looking for the oldest auto body shop in America. Is it you?

ASE Touts Benefits of Entry-Level Certification for Employers

ASE Entry Level certification gives employers confidence that they’re hiring individuals with the knowledge and ability to become high-performing employees.

SCRS Updates BOT Estimating Tool

Shop managers can now better maximize usage and benefits from the estimate analysis tool.

Other Posts

NORTHEAST 2024 Attendee Badge Registration Now Open

Individuals can now start registering for the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show to be held March 15-17, 2024 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

ProColor Collision Adds Two New Locations in Houston

ProColor Collision announced that two new ProColor Collision locations in Houston are the latest to join ProColor Collision’s growing family of collision repair facilities in the U.S.  

Mazda Front Radar Calibration

Joe Keene, automotive content video producer at Babcox Media, discusses how to calibrate the front radar on a Mazda — the key to which is precisely establishing the centerline.

Classic Collision Opens Second Location in Vancouver

Classic Collision St. John is located in an up-and-coming industrial development section of Clark County and one mile north of Classic’s Vancouver location.