NTSB releases preliminary report on Tesla’s March fatal crash
The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released a preliminary report about Tesla’s March 23 fatal crash involving a Model X SUV in California, saying the driver had hands off the steering wheel in the last seconds before the accident. According to data downloaded from the vehicle, Autopilot, Tesla’s suite of advanced driver-assistance systems, was on, including in the minutes immediately before the crash, the report said. The car made alerts to the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel more than 15 minutes prior to the crash. During the minute before the accident, “the driver’s hands were detected on the steering wheel on three separate occasions, for a total of 34 seconds; for the last six seconds prior to the crash, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel,” the NTSB said. The Model X had been following a lead vehicle a few seconds before the crash, but shortly before the car began a left steering movement while following the lead vehicle, the report said. “At 3 seconds prior to the crash and up to the time of impact with the crash attenuator, the Tesla’s speed increased from 62 to 70.8 mph, with no precrash braking or evasive steering movement detected,” the NTSB said. The investigation is ongoing, it said. Tesla shares were up 0.2% on Thursday, a day after closing at their best since mid March and on the heels of the company’s annual shareholder meeting, in which company proposals were approved by large margins and little dissent was aired.