Tesla crash in California prompts NHTSA to seek more information

A crash involving a Tesla that collided with a firetruck on Saturday in California has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to seek more information.

The NHTSA said it contacted Tesla for additional information regarding the collision, according to Reuters, which involved a Tesla Model S, the company’s flagship sedan, and a firetruck that was parked on Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County, California.

According to a communication from the Fire Department in Contra Costa, a firetruck was blocking I-680 lanes as a crew cleaned up debris from a previous accident. The driver of the Tesla slammed into the firetruck as it was stationary. Four firefighters were inside the truck when the Model S hit it. They were treated for minor injuries, but the driver of the Tesla unfortunately died.

Assistant Chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Tracie Dutter said the firetruck had its lights on and was parked diagonally across the northbound lanes to protect first responders.

The NHTSA is likely asking for more information as it currently has a special crash investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles, which aims to investigate “vehicle crashes with in-road or roadside first responders.”

The agency upgraded the investigation to an “Engineering Analysis” in July 2022:

“The investigation will assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.”

There is no evidence or indication from local authorities as to what caused the crash. Many media reports immediately blame Tesla’s Autopilot suite, but police and firefighters have not revealed any information, nor have they officially named the cause of the crash. Information regarding the driver has also not been released.

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