Car accidentshappen. Driving habits and safety tech can help people avoid them to some extent, but accidents will always be a part of driving as long as independently controlled vehicles roam the highways and byways of the world.
So why have
regulatorsexamined accidents involving Teslas so closely? 35 Tesla collisions are under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most recent of which was added in mid-May.
The attention, at first glance, seems a little discriminatory toward the relatively new automaker. But a quick look under the hood of the probe reveals the culprit—Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems.
Latest fatal Tesla crash under the microscope kills 3
It’s still unclear whether Autopilot or Full Self-Driving mode was in effect when the incident occurred, but the NHTSA added it to the list of Tesla collisions to look into on May 18.
If either system was active when the accident occurred, the three deaths would bring the number of fatalities of the 35 crashes to 14. Of those crashes, the use of the
driver-assistance technologyhas only been ruled in three.
What’s the deal about Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving?
Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance systems do not make the
automaker’s carsfully autonomous. The manufacturer says as much on its descriptions of the tech. But that hasn’t stopped drivers from using them that way.
Viral videos on Tik-Tok and YouTube show multiple Tesla “drivers” reclining and even hopping out of the driver’s seat, leaving the car’s software to keep it on the road.
Tesla wants to blame these situations on the people in the cars being reckless and not following instructions, but some regulators see the electric car maker as more culpable.
The primary criticism is directed at the names Tesla gave to the systems. Regulators argue that they confuse consumers into thinking the cars are fully autonomous. Some also point out that offering the
beta versionsto consumers, effectively testing them on the public, is unsafe.
Are Teslas unsafe to drive?
Tesla’s critics make some pretty sound arguments, but in terms of general auto safety, Teslas are about as safe as they come. The company’s crash test scores are excellent, and if used properly, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving can also help avoid accidents.
Still, tech glitches and human error mean car accidents are here to stay. To protect yourself financially, you’ll want to make sure you have a robust
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