Unclear if Model 3 involved in fiery crash had Autopilot engaged
WASHINGTON — U.S. safety investigators are asking anyone who witnessed a fiery Tesla crash last week near Miami that killed two people to send them video or photos taken at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent three investigators to the Sept. 13 crash in Coral Gables, Florida. The agency says Thursday that it’s specifically looking for photos or video of the crash itself or the fire that broke out after the collision.
A Tesla Model 3 compact electric car left the road and hit a tree, and the car was consumed by the post-crash blaze. The NTSB said it’s investigating the crash because it’s taking a close look at newer technology. The probe will focus on operation of the vehicle and the fire.
Photos and videos can be emailed to email@example.com, the agency said.
Tesla TSLA, +0.23% vehicles don’t use gasoline that could raise the risk of a big fire after a crash, but the company’s guidance to first responders includes a warning about battery fires. Tesla representatives have said that high-speed collisions can result in a fire for any kind of car. The Coral Gables crash occurred near a residential intersection, and it wasn’t immediately known whether speed was a factor.
It was also unclear whether the car’s partially automated driving system was activated at the time of the crash. The government is scrutinizing Tesla’s system named Autopilot. In the past five years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent investigators to 31 crashes involving vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, including 25 involving Teslas.
The NTSB expects to have a preliminary report on the crash in mid-October. The agency makes recommendations to other federal agencies about possible safety regulations.
Coral Gables police have identified the victims as a 20-year-old man, who was driving, and a 19-year-old woman. Coral Gables is located southwest of downtown Miami.