Update (Apr. 19): Two federal agencies will investigate the deadly crash of a Tesla Model S over the weekend near Houston, Texas, in which local authorities said no one was behind the wheel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are aware of the fatal Tesla crash that killed two, which occurred on Saturday night in Spring, Texas. Both agencies are sending investigators to conduct a safety analysis.
"NHTSA is aware of the tragic crash involving a Tesla vehicle outside of Houston, Texas. NHTSA has immediately launched a Special Crash Investigation team to investigate the crash. We are actively engaged with local law enforcement and Tesla to learn more about the details of the crash and will take appropriate steps when we have more information," the NHTSA told local news KHOU11 in a statement.
And the NTSB tweeted Monday afternoon that their investigation team, "in coordination with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office," will "conduct a safety investigation of the fatal Apr. 17, 2021, Tesla vehicle crash near Spring, TX."
NTSB also said their "investigation would focus on the vehicle's operation and the post-crash fire. NTSB investigators will arrive in the area later this afternoon."
Last week, Ford CEO Jim Farley railed against Tesla for experimenting with driverless tech using customers as guinea pigs on public roads.
The fact that Tesla continues to beta test its "Autopilot" and "Full Self Driving" features on public streets is mindblowing considering deaths continue to pile up.
Shares of Tesla barely budged on the new developments.
* * *
Here we go again.
While the NHTSA continues to sit idly by and allow Tesla to continue to beta test its "Autopilot" and "Full Self Driving" features on public roads, yet another two men are dead after a Tesla crash where no one was reported to have been in the driver's seat at the time.
The Tesla slammed into a tree near Hammock Dunes Place in the Houston Area, a local NBC affiliate reported. The wreck was in the "Carlton Woods subdivision near the Woodlands," the report says.
According to authorities, "the vehicle failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn, ran off the road and hit the tree."
Of the two occupants, one was seated in the passenger seat of the front of the car while the other was seated in the passenger seat of the back of the car.
NBC says it is "trying to determine whether the vehicle may have been in automatic driving mode due to the victims’ seating, but that information is not available yet."
While we will also wait for further information before passing judgement, it would see to echo an influx of videos and Instagram posts showing Tesla owners sitting in various parts of their vehicles - anywhere but the drivers' seat - while the car barrels forward in Autopilot or FSD mode.
And stop us if you've heard this one before: A reported 23,000 gallons of water needed to be used to extinguish the flames because the Tesla's battery "kept reigniting".
Meanwhile we continue to hear nary a word from the NHTSA regarding the potential (mis)use of Tesla's Autopilot features. Perhaps when the family member of someone close to the agency, or congress, is involved, the agency will change its tune. Until then, they show no signs of being sweet on Elon Musk and letting him continue to beta test whatever features he likes on normal roads.