NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Model X crash

Adjust Comment Print

A preliminary report was made available by the National Transportation Safety Board detailing the moments before and after the March crash near Mountain View, California. At this point, the NTSB has yet to determine a probable cause of the crash and is continuing to investigate the accident.

Walter Huang was fatally injured when his Tesla Model X P100D slammed into a previously damaged crash attenuator on Highway 101 in Mountain View on March 23. The NTSB said Huang's vehicle sped up from 62 miles per hour to 70.8 miles per hour in the last three seconds prior to the crash.

The NTSB is also investigating two other incidents involving Teslas: An accident near Los Angeles in January in which a Model S struck a fire truck parked on a freeway while the vehicle was on Autopilot and a Model X that crashed into a garage in August in Lake Forest, California, and its battery caught fire. Then for the six seconds before the crash, the auto did not detect Huang's hands on the wheel. Back in April, the NTSB announced that Tesla had been taken off of the investigation for releasing information before it could be vetted and confirmed.

Electronic vehicle maker says autonomous auto pilot system was working fine and driver Walter Huang should have been paying attention.

In one of the disputed statements, Tesla said "the crash happened on a clear day with several hundred feet of visibility ahead, which means that the only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road, despite the auto providing multiple warnings to do so". The driver's hands were not detected on the wheel in the six seconds before the collision, investigators said. During that time the auto provided two visual and one auditory alert for the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel. During that time, he engaged the autopilot system four times, including one continuous period of almost 19 minutes. A second later, the auto began to steer left while still following the lead vehicle.

Musk had already said that the new Roadster's insane specs were enabled by SpaceX's rocket technology. A spokeswoman referred to a company blog saying that a Tesla with Autopilot is far safer than vehicles without it. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision".

The NTSB originally announced it was looking into a fire that erupted in the car's battery, which was damaged in the impact.

The NTSB said on March 27 that two officials would conduct a field investigation into the incident.

During the recently-held 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Elon Musk also provided an update as to when Tesla would begin producing the $35,000, standard-range RWD version of the Model 3.