Washington, D.C. — August 15, 2016 — Tesla’s future-facing features have been part of the company’s brand. However, a recent accident has led to a government investigation into one of those prominent features, as part of an action that might eventually trigger a recall.
In a recent blog post, the NTSB described the original accident that launched this investigation, which dates back to May 7, 2016. According to this source, the case involved a 2015 Tesla Model S. The driver was reportedly using multiple automated systems in the vehicle while it was in motion, including automatic breaks and “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control.”
It was traveling on US-27A in Florida and going approximately 74 miles per hour where the speed limit was 65 miles per hour. This vehicle struck a truck with a 53-foot trailer, with the driver of the Tesla perishing in the accident. The rear of the Tesla was greatly affected, with the back window being crushed in the process.
USA Today quoted AutoTrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs on the action the car company can take with this investigation in motion.
“Tesla might want to consider a voluntary recall or stop sale on its vehicles equipped with the Autopilot feature,” Krebs said. “Self-driving vehicles hold much promise for improving road safety, but more work is needed with the technology, regulations and consumer confidence, which could be shaken by accidents like this.”
Last year, a recall involving the 2015 Model S affected 58,773 vehicles. The NHTSA Recall Acknowledgement letter said it involved incorrectly secured front seat belts, one that could potentially fail to keep an occupant restrained during a crash. The source said the connection would require a dealer inspection to ensure performance and fix the outboard lap pretensioner as needed.