United States regulators open probe into Tesla crash in Utah

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The driver of the Unified fire vehicle was examined for whiplash-related injuries at the scene but was not taken to the hospital for treatment.

According to a statement released South Jordan released Wednesday, Tesla technicians recovered data recorded by the vehicle and they found the driver had repeatedly engaged, canceled and re-engaged the car's Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control functions. The Tesla driver suffered a broken ankle.

"Drivers are repeatedly advised Autopilot features do not make Tesla vehicles "autonomous" and that the driver absolutely must remain vigilant with their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and they must be prepared to take any and all action necessary to avoid hazards on the road", the report read.

The Tesla report also noted that instructions provided to drivers about their vehicle's automation features expressly instruct that they maintain attention, and hands on the wheel, at all times.


South Jordan police Sgt. Sam Winkler said the driver in the incident, a 28-year-old Lehi woman who has not been identified, was issued a citation for "failure to keep proper lookout".

The "superior" rating which Model 3 has achieved for IIHS' front crash prevention tests is the same as the rating already achieved by Tesla's Model S and Model X electric vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is dispatching a team to investigate a recent crash in South Jordan in which the driver of a Tesla vehicle reported she had placed the auto on autopilot mode at the time of the crash, Reuters reports. She had previously told police she had engaged the system and was looking at her phone to compare route maps when the accident occurred. "She did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds until the crash happened".

Sharing details about how Tesla Model 3 has earned the "superior" rating for the front crash prevention tests, IIHS has revealed that the vehicle passed the 12 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour front crash prevention tests by successfully avoiding a crash at both the speed levels. The driver finally touched the brake pedal "a second prior to the crash".


Some automakers, such as Cadillac, have driver assist system that only function if maps indicate that the vehicle is traveling on a route, typically a highway, that is compatible with a auto taking over some driving duties.

Both NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board assisted local police in the investigation.

It is the third Tesla crash since January that the NHTSA is investigating that may have been linked to autopilot. The vehicle was in Autopilot mode when it slammed into a concrete barrier that divided a busy Silicon Valley highway. The probe marked the federal agency's fourth active investigation into the electric auto maker's vehicles.

Among accidents to make headlines was a fiery March 23 crash in California that involved its "Autopilot" feature.


Follow USA TODAY tech writer Marco della Cava on Twitter.

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