The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, that it has officially opened a special crash probe into a deadly crash that occurred just a week ago in California. Sadly, three people who were traveling in a Tesla Model S were killed.
The crash, which was first reported in a news statement by the Newport Beach Police, occurred on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 12:45 AM. Based on the police report and a related press release, the police department took multiple 911 calls related to a collision in the 3000 Block of Pacific Coast Highway.
The 2022 Tesla Model S was heading east when it hit a curb and then ran into construction equipment that was on the side of the road. When officers arrived at the scene, they found that all three people in the car had perished. In addition, three construction workers, who each had minor injuries, were taken to a local hospital to be checked out.
According to NHTSA, the investigation is still underway. The Newport Beach Police Department Major Accident Investigation Team is currently at the scene. The authorities are requesting that anyone with any details about the crash should contact Traffic Investigator Austin Laverty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHTSA is currently investigating over 30 Tesla crashes that it suggests may have happened when advanced driver-assist systems related to Tesla Autopilot were engaged. However, the organization has not yet verified that Autopilot was active or at fault in this crash and many others. To be clear, we don't yet know for sure what's involved in NHTSA's investigation of this specific incident.
The organization currently has 42 Special Crash Investigations underway. Of those, the most recent two are related to Tesla's vehicles, and a majority of the cases actually apply to Tesla. This particular 2022 Tesla Model S probe is listed by NHTSA as “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems ODI," which applies to an Office of Defects Investigation.
While there's no way to know for sure at this time, NHTSA could be investigating whether or not Tesla Autopilot was engaged prior to the crash. This would make the most sense since the Office of Defects is investigating Tesla's advanced driver-assist systems. This is a developing story.