"In the blink of an eye, our lives have been forever shattered..."

Tragedy Strikes

Tesla's troubled Autopilot is under additional scrutiny after federal officials announced they're investigating the driver assist tech in a horrific car crash in California that killed a teenager and a baby, Reuters reports.

"In the blink of an eye, our lives have been forever shattered as baby Charlie has now been declared brain dead from injuries sustained in this tragic accident," reads a GoFundMe set up by an aunt.

The incident happened on July 5, according to South Tahoe Now, when the 2018 Tesla Model 3 — with the baby, the baby's parents, an elderly uncle, and a six-year-old son as occupants — collided head-on with a 2013 Subaru Impreza driven by a 17-year-old named Andy Martinez.

Martinez died while baby Charlie lingered on in the hospital while on life support until he was declared dead days later, according to the local news outfit. The GoFundMe states the rest of the Tesla occupants were "all seriously injured."

And now, that terrible tragedy could result in change, according to Reuters, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration probing Autopilot's possible role in the incident.

Autopilot Off

Autopilot has already been subject to numerous investigations by federal officials. Investigators have looked at more than three dozen crash cases — involving 22 dead — that appear to have used Autopilot, a system that helps drivers with steering, braking and accelerating.

This July 5 incident tragedy underscoresthe question: is the tech safe for public roads, especially with Tesla CEO Elon Musk's relentless claims that the vehicles are on the brink of fully driving themselves? A New York Times report last year found that nobody really knows, because there's a lack of verifiable data.

"There is a lack of data that would give the public the confidence that these systems, as deployed, live up to their expected safety benefits," co-director of Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research J. Christian Gerdes told the paper at the time.

It's worthy of further investigation — and likely regulation — because that status quo won't fly with families and loved ones of those killed in these crashes.

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