Preliminary NTSB Report Of Fatal Houston Tesla Wreck Says Driver Was Behind Wheel, Fails To Determine If Autopilot Was At Fault

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Oct 21, 2021 - 02:40 PM

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board announced preliminary findings on Thursday of an ongoing investigative report related to an April 17th Tesla crash near Houston.

The report found that a driver was behind the wheel of the car when it crashed and burned, killing both occupants, neither of whom were found in the driver's seat after the wreck.

According to the NTSB, both the "driver and a passenger were in the front seats with belts buckled at the time of the crash," according to the Washington Post. 

The car was traveling up to 67 mph in the seconds leading up to the crash, and the driver was accelerating, the report said. The accelerator pedal was pressed as high as 98.8%, according to data derived from the car's event data recorder, the NTSB noted. 

And while the NTSB has failed thus far to determine as to whether or not Tesla's Autopilot was running at the time, the investigation is reportedly ongoing. 

According to WaPo, the NTSB is still looking at "Autopilot, whether the men could have had trouble getting out of the car, driver toxicology tests and other items."

These items will appear in a final NTSB report. 

Recall, we wrote about the Houston wreck here. We noted that, Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4, told Reuters back in April that the police were serving search warrants on Tesla Inc on Tuesday to secure data from the wreck.

He was responding to a tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said, "Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled."

Herman appeared quite skeptical at the time: "If he is tweeting that out, if he has already pulled the data, he hasn't told us that" Herman told Reuters. "We will eagerly wait for that data."

“We have witness statements from people that said they left to test drive the vehicle without a driver and to show the friend how it can drive itself,” Herman said according to the Reuters report.

The NTSB report news also comes on the heels of a Tesla earnings report where the company beat EPS expectations but failed to meet sales estimates. 

Recall, we published a full report on Tesla's Q3 earnings here. Tesla said it had its “best-ever” net income, while it actually lowered prices in the third quarter. “Our operating margin reached an all-time high as we continue to reduce cost at a higher rate than declines in ASP,” the company said. 

Of note, unlike previous quarter when virtually all the profit came from the sale of regulatory credits, in Q3 the situation normalized somewhat with just $279MM from regulatory credits, a 30% drop Y/Y and a fraction of the GAAP Net Income of $1.618BN.