Why does this kind of thing keep happening?
Hit the Brakes
A Tesla driver was left dead and several other people were injured after the electric vehicle rammed into a parked firetruck that had, ironically, been responding to a previous crash.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the Model S crash — in which the car failed, for some reason, to slow down enough before hitting the emergency vehicle — occurred just before 4 am on a freeway in Contra Costa County, California, and the firetruck had been parked after responding to an accident that occurred just a half hour prior.
It's unclear why the car didn't slow down before hitting the large parked fire engine, and as Reuters has subsequently reported, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking more information from Tesla regarding the accident.
Reading between the lines, it seems that regulators are looking into whether the company's controversial driver assistance technology, marketed as Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, could have caused or contributed to the crash.
The driver was pronounced dead on arrival and the Tesla's passenger was taken to the hospital to assess their reportedly "major" injuries. Four firefighters inside the firetruck were also taken to the hospital as a precaution, the SF Chronicle notes, after being impacted.
The NHTSA has good reason for their inquiry, given that the company's automated driving features keep being associated with fatal car crashes — in fact, it's already investigating whether the company's Autopilot feature keeps crashing into parked emergency vehicles, such as with this latest collision. With all those reports of injuries and death associated with the company's self-driving features becoming commonplace, it's a valid line of investigation.
We don't know whether Autopilot or Full Self-Driving were involved in this latest fatality — but it'll be fascinating to find out.
More on Tesla: Tesla Rolling Back Full Self-Driving Version That "May Cause Crashes"