Tesla crash that killed three in California probed by U.S. safety agency

A Tesla crash that killed three people in California earlier this month is now being probed by a U.S. government agency.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it would open a Special Crash Investigation (SCI), probing to find out more information on what potentially caused a three fatality crash involving a 2022 Tesla Model S.

On May 12, a Model S sedan crashed into construction equipment in Newport Beach, California. Three people occupying the vehicle were killed, while three workers outside of the car were injured, according to police. The crash occurred at around 12:45 AM on Pacific Coast Highway. The Model S struck a curb and then slammed into the equipment, a report from the Orange County Register stated.

The accident was recently added to the NHTSA’s list of currently-opened SCI cases. Its two most recent now involve Tesla vehicles, and a majority of the 42 cases involve Tesla vehicles. Three have been dismissed as not involving Autopilot. Volvo is among the other manufacturers on the list, with a March 2017 and a March 2018 accident involving its XC90. The 2017 accident resulted in minor injuries, while the 2018 incident was fatal to the passenger, reports confirmed. The XC90 was utilizing ADAS during both accidents, according to the NHTSA.

The Lexus RH450H, the Cadillac CT6 (listed twice), and the Navya Arma were also all listed with ADAS case types, but all of these vehicles had no injuries due to the accidents. An accident involving a Hyundai Kona in December 2021 in California is also on the list.

Both accidents involving the XC90 were a part of the Uber test vehicle fleet, which was driverless, the company told Teslarati.

The NHTSA lists the investigation case type for the Model S crash as “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems ODI.” ODI stands for the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation. The NHTSA may be looking into whether Tesla’s driver-assistance features were active or if the company’s Autopilot system was active during the time of the accident. In the past, government agencies have probed Tesla accidents for potential causation by Autopilot usage, with the investigations concluding Autopilot was active in some of the accidents, but not enabled in others.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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