Senator Blumenthal wishes Musk would wait until after the investigation to tweet.
Two men died earlier this month when a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree — and caught national attention when police said that there was nobody in the driver’s seat, prompting widespread speculation that the car’s self-driving capabilities might have been engaged at the time of the crash.
Then, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed back against that narrative of the crash, saying that data logs showed that Autopilot wasn’t engaged at the time of the deadly wreck. And now, a member of Congress says he wishes Musk had held off commenting, according to Insider.
“I was very disappointed that Tesla, through its CEO, took to Twitter to downplay the involvement of the company’s advanced driver assistance system before [regulatory agencies] have completed their ongoing investigation into the deadly accident,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said during a Senate transportation committee hearing.
Tesla and Musk specifically pushed back on two parts of the original story: the claims that Autopilot had been engaged and that there was no one sitting in the driver’s seat.
“Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled and this car did not purchase [Full Self Driving,]” Musk tweeted last week. “Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”
After the crash, police told reporters they were all but certain of the fact that the driver’s seat was empty. However, Texas police, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are all still investigating the accident — and Blumenthal implied that Musk should hold off on speaking so publicly until they actually get to the bottom of what happened.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” the NTSB told Insider. “We have not drawn any conclusions at this point.”
More on the crash: Fire Chief: Reports of Fiery Tesla Crash Grossly Exaggerated