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Tesla Not at Fault in Deadly 2021 Texas Model S Crash, NTSB Concludes

Tesla Not at Fault in Deadly 2021 Texas Model S Crash, NTSB Concludes

Image: Scott Engle

Tesla is not at fault for the deadly 2021 Texas crash that claimed the lives of two, the NTSB has concluded. The involved Tesla Model S was fully operational and Autopilot was not activated. The driver was under the influence of alcohol and exceeded the speed limit.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed on Wednesday that its investigation into the April 2021 fatal car crash in Texas involving a Tesla Model S found no evidence of the car being at fault. All collected data indicated the vehicle was fully operational and Autopilot was not activated. This means that at the time of the accident, the Model S was driven by a human driver. As a result of the accident, two people—a 59-year-old driver and a 69-year-old passenger—died at the scene from their injuries.

A medical examination found that the driver was intoxicated, and also took antihistamines before the accident. He exceeded the speed limit to 39 mph, instead of the maximum allowed 30 mph on that road, and lost control, causing the car to crash. The data showed that after the car left the road, the driver continued to press the accelerator pedal and accelerated to a top speed of 67 mph 2 seconds before the final impact with the tree. All airbags deployed, and both front seat belt pretensioners activated. At the time of the collision, both victims were in the front seats.

“The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) imaged the EDR to obtain data related to the crash. In the 5 seconds before impacting the tree, the car accelerated from 39 mph to a top speed of 67 mph 2 seconds before the final tree impact, which occurred at about 57 mph. The application of the accelerator pedal ranged from 8% to 98% during the 5 seconds of recorded data, and there was no evidence of braking. Precrash EDR data indicated that both the driver and passenger were restrained with the available lap/shoulder belts. As a result of the final impact with the tree, the front, curtain, and knee bolster airbags deployed, and both front seat belt pretensioners activated. The crash damaged the front of the car’s high-voltage lithium-ion battery case, where a fire started.”

© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.

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Article edited by @SmokeyShorts; follow him on Twitter

About the Author

Eva Fox

Eva Fox

Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.

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