(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
A U.S. safety board said Wednesday found no evidence a Tesla
Model S was operating on Autopilot during an April 2021 fatal
crash, saying the probable cause was the driver's speeding, alcohol
impairment and failure to control the vehicle, trend reports with reference
to reuters .
Shortly after the accident in Spring, Texas, local police said
they believed the crash occurred with no one in the driver's seat,
raising questions about Tesla's driver-assistance systems and
prompting widespread media coverage.
On Wednesday, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) said a review of the data showed 'no use of the Autopilot
system at any time during this ownership period of the vehicle,
including the time frame up to the last transmitted timestamp on
April 17, 2021.' It cited other evidence that suggested another
advanced driver assistance system was not in use.
Tesla did not immediately comment.
The NTSB cited the driver's impairment from alcohol intoxication
in combination with the effects of two sedating antihistamines.
The NTSB said 'the available evidence suggests that the driver
was seated in the driver's seat at the time of the crash and moved
into the rear seat' and added 'it was not possible to determine
whether the doors were manually operational following the power
In October 2021, the NTSB said both the driver and passenger
seats were occupied during the crash. The NTSB said 'footage from
the owner's home security camera shows the owner entering the car's
driver's seat and the passenger entering the front passenger
The crash killed the 59-year-old owner, William Varner, an
anesthesiologist, and the passenger, aged 69, a short distance from
The Tesla traveled 550 feet (167.64 m) before departing the road
on a curve, driving over the curb, and hitting a drainage culvert,
a raised manhole, and a tree and catching fire, the NTSB said.
In the crash, Varner accelerated to 67 mph on a residential
street with a 30-mile per hour speed limit. NTSB said testing
confirmed 'Autopilot feature could not have been engaged on the
roadway where the crash occurred, due to the lack of lane
NTSB said Tesla's assistance system Traffic Aware Cruise Control
(TACC) was capable of being engaged but the 'maximum speed possible
on this roadway was approximately 30 mph.... This evidence
indicated that TACC was not engaged during the crash trip.'
The NTSB makes safety recommendations. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, which regulates vehicle safety and
is also investigating the incident, did not immediately