The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is evaluating a crash in Southern California involving a Tesla vehicle reportedly operating the Autopilot feature.
NTSB says investigators will launch a field investigation focusing on "driver and vehicle factors." The investigators are expected to arrive Wednesday, the safety agency said.
The Culver City Firefighters union confirmed on Twitter on Monday that a Tesla had hit one of its trucks. The union said the Tesla was going 65 mph at the time of the crash and no one was injured.
While working a freeway accident this morning, Engine 42 was struck by a #Tesla traveling at 65 mph. The driver reports the vehicle was on autopilot. Amazingly there were no injuries! Please stay alert while driving! #abc7eyewitness #ktla #CulverCity #distracteddriving pic.twitter.com/RgEmd43tNe— Culver City Firefighters (@CC_Firefighters) January 22, 2018
The Mercury News reported that the vehicle was a Tesla Model S traveling on California’s Interstate 405.
The battalion chief of the Culver City Fire Department, Ken Powell, told the news outlet that the crash “was a pretty big hit," but the individual driving the Tesla denied to seek treatment following the incident.
In a statement about the crash, a spokesperson for Tesla said the Autopilot feature “is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.”
The NTSB, in a final report issued last year about a 2016 Florida crash involving a Tesla vehicle operating on Autopilot, faulted both the driver’s “overreliance” on the automation feature and “a truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way.”
“These systems require the driver to pay attention all the time and to be able to take over immediately when something goes wrong,” Robert Sumwalt III, the chairman of the NTSB, said at the time.
“System safeguards, that should have prevented the Tesla’s driver from using the car’s automation system on certain roadways, were lacking and the combined effects of human error and the lack of sufficient system safeguards resulted in a fatal collision that should not have happened,” he said.
—Updated at 4:16 p.m.