NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Tesla crash on Autopilot

A fatal accident involving a Tesla Model X on Autopilot came under investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in March.

The NTSB has now released its preliminary report of the accident.

After the accident, which took the life of the driver, had gathered a lot of media attention and scrutiny from the NTSB, Tesla released a detailed report of what it thought happened based on the vehicle’s data logs.

The NTSB corroborated the sequences of events leading to the crash with its own review of the recorded performance data:

The report also addresses the response to the battery fire that followed the crash and the fact that the battery pack reignited days later.

The preliminary report doesn’t determine the probable cause of the accident and instead mainly lists the findings to date.

The NTSB wrote:

The NTSB continues to work with the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation to collect and analyze data, including all pertinent information relating to the vehicle operations and roadway configuration. All aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes.​

Here’s NTSB’s full preliminary report of the accident:

A Tesla spokesperson pointed you back to Tesla’s previously mentioned blog about the accident and declined to comment further.

Electrek’s Take

Interestingly, we already have a very good idea of what happened when it comes to Autopilot with this accident since other Tesla owners have recreated it on video.

It serves as a tragic reminder that drivers need to always pay attention when using Autopilot and be ready to take control at all time.

Aside from Autopilot, the NTSB report could actually prove useful regarding the response to the fire and the state of the crash attenuator.

More first responders need to know how to handle battery packs after they have been badly breached and I wouldn’t be surprised if the report finds that the driver would have likely survived if the crash attenuator was fixed before the crash.

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