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Nearly 400 car crashes in the US within ten months were caused by driver-assistance technology

Nearly 400 car crashes in the US within a ten month period were causing by self-driving or driver assistance technology, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report found.

Teslas were involved in the vast majority of those crashes, 273 out of 392, which occurred between July 1, 2021, and May 15 this year and resulted in six deaths and five serious injuries.

Worldwide automobile companies made the disclosures to the NHTSA after the regulator issued an order in June 2021 requiring automakers and tech companies to immediately report all crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicles equipped with automated driving systems being tested on public roads. 

Of the remaining amount of crashes involving ADAS technology reported by a dozen automakers, 90 of them involved Hondas and 10 were Subrarus. Ford Motor, General Motors (GM), BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai and Porsche reported fewer than five incidents each. 

‘These technologies hold great promise to improve safety, but we need to understand how these vehicles are performing in real-world situations,’ said NHTSA administration Steven Cliff. ‘This will help our investigators quickly identify potential defect trends that emerge.’

The agency advised reporters on Wednesday to urge caution when analyzing the 10-month san data and to avoid drawing conclusions on the safety of ADAS systems or factoring it in comparisons between different automakers. The results do not take the number of cars per brand that are equipped with the advanced technology into account. 

‘The data may raise more questions than they answer,’ Cliff added.

Over the last ten moths, 273 out of 392 total incidents and accident that were caused by driver-assistance technology were reported by Teslas, nearly 70 percent. Honda comes second with 90 incidents, while Subaru trails behind with 10 and other European, American and Asian automakers have fewer than five 

Although its reported numbers of incidents and accidents are high, Tesla is also the largest producer of self-driving or assisted-driving vehicles (83,000) that are on the road compared to any other automaker. Pictured: A man reading news on his smartphone while his car is driven by an autopilot

Although its reported numbers of incidents and accidents are high, Tesla is also the largest producer of self-driving or assisted-driving vehicles (83,000) that are on the road compared to any other automaker. Pictured: A man reading news on his smartphone while his car is driven by an autopilot

The NHTSA has opened 35 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles in which advanced driver assistance systems was suspected of being used. Pictured: A 2019 Tesla Model 3 after a car crash with a police car and Mercedes SUV in Orlando, Florida, in August 2021

The NHTSA has opened 35 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles in which advanced driver assistance systems was suspected of being used. Pictured: A 2019 Tesla Model 3 after a car crash with a police car and Mercedes SUV in Orlando, Florida, in August 2021

The results do not take the number of cars per brand that are equipped with the advanced technology into account. 

‘The data may raise more questions than they answer,’ Cliff added.

Tesla makes up for around 70 percent of the crashes, but Elon Musk’s car brand has also produced a larger share of self-driving or assisted-driving vehicles (830,000) that are on the road more than any other automaker. 

Ford, GM and BMW have released similar features to its fleets, allowing hands-free driving, but have not met as much success in sales as Tesla. Instead, these car brands have banked on models that are equipped with particular driver-assist features, including lane keeping, which avoids drivers swerving in between lanes, and adaptive cruise control, which helps cars automatically slow down or brake upon detecting traffic ahead. 

Japan’s Honda told Reuters it had found no defects in the systems and its crash reports were based on unverified customer statements. 

No other fuel-based automaker reported more than 10 ADAS crashes during the period other than Subaru. Incidents that take place when an advanced system is engaged within 30 seconds of a crash must be reported within 24 hours to NHTSA. 

The agency further revealed its plans to release new data monthly, instead of yearly. 

BMW, Ford and GM among other automakers have bank rolled on individualistic driver-assist features, including lane keep and adaptive cruise control rather than develop self-driving or assisted-driving technology. Pictured: A BMW i3 electric model

BMW, Ford and GM among other automakers have bank rolled on individualistic driver-assist features, including lane keep and adaptive cruise control rather than develop self-driving or assisted-driving technology. Pictured: A BMW i3 electric model

The agency further revealed its plans to release new data monthly, instead of yearly.

NHTSA also went on to report on Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo, which are used as driverless taxis in Arizona. There were 62 crashes reported over the last year, while General Motors’ Cruise, used in San Francisco as driverless taxi rides, had 23. 

NHTSA said the data has already been used to trigger investigations and recalls and helped inform existing defect probes. The agency did not immediately identify who was at fault in crashes and will release more detailed information on individual incidents later on Wednesday.

The agency said out of 130 crashes reported involving automated driving systems, 108 involved no injuries and one was a serious injury crash.

Tesla, Cruise and Waymo have all been contacted with requests for comment from DailyMail.com.

Meanwhile, General Motors' Cruise (pictured), used in San Francisco as driverless taxi rides, had 23 crashes

Meanwhile, General Motors’ Cruise (pictured), used in San Francisco as driverless taxi rides, had 23 crashes

NHTSA has been scrutinizing Autopilot and said last week it was upgrading its probe into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with the system, a required step before it could seek a recall. 

The regulator had opened a preliminary evaluation to assess the performance of Autopilot after about a dozen crashes in which Tesla vehicles struck stopped emergency vehicles 

Separately, NHTSA has opened 35 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles in which ADAS was suspected of being used. A total of 14 crash deaths have been reported in those Tesla investigations, including an April Washington crash that killed three people. 

In April, video emerged of a Tesla crashing into a $2m private yet while being ‘summoned’ across a Washington airfield by its owner.

The rogue Model Y kept on going after slamming into the Cirrus Vision at the airfield, believed to be in Spokane.

In January, California prosecutors filed charges against a man who allegedly ran a red light and killed two people in 2019 while driving a Tesla on Autopilot.

Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, pled not guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

His Tesla Model S was moving at a high speed when it left a freeway and ran a red light before striking a Honda Civic on December 29, 2019, police said. The two people in the Civic died at the scene.

The driver complained to the agency that a Model Y went into the wrong lane and was hit by another vehicle. The SUV gave the driver an alert halfway through the turn, and the driver tried to turn the wheel to avoid other traffic, according to the complaint. But the car took control and ‘forced itself into the incorrect lane,’ the driver reported.

Tesla says Autopilot allows the vehicles to brake and steer automatically within their lanes but does not make them capable of driving themselves.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor is recalling more than 3.3 million vehicles in North America that could roll away because a damaged or missing part may prevent the vehicle from shifting into the intended gear.

In a filing with the NHTSA, Ford said Wednesday the recall covers various 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2021 Transit Connect and 2015-2018 Edge vehicles, the agency said in a notice on Wednesday. 

The recall includes just over 2.9 million U.S. vehicles and 394,000 in Canada.

A damaged or missing shift cable bushing may prevent the vehicle from shifting into the intended gear, or the vehicle may roll after the driver selects the ‘Park’ position.

Ford said it was aware of six reports alleging property damage and four reports of injuries potentially related to the recalled vehicles.

This is Ford’s fifth recall over the issue since 2018, it told the agency. Ford previously recalled about 1.4 million vehicles worldwide in an earlier shift cable part recalls.

History of fatal crashes tied to Tesla Autopilot

January 20, 2016 in China: Gao Yaning, 23, died when the Tesla Model S he was driving slammed into a road sweeper on a highway near Handan, a city about 300 miles south of Beijing. Chinese media reported that Autopilot was engaged.

Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio died in an Autopilot crash in May 2016

Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio died in an Autopilot crash in May 2016

May 7, 2016 in Williston, Florida: Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio died when cameras in his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky.

The NTSB found that the truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way and a car driver’s inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation were the probable cause of the crash.

The NTSB also noted that Tesla Autopilot permitted the car driver to become dangerously disengaged with driving. A DVD player and Harry Potter movies were found in the car.

March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California: Apple software engineer Walter Huang, 38, died in a crash on U.S. Highway 101 with the Autopilot on his Tesla engaged.

The vehicle accelerated to 71 mph seconds before crashing into a freeway barrier, federal investigators found. 

The NTSB, in a preliminary report on the crash, also said that data shows the Model X SUV did not brake or try to steer around the barrier in the three seconds before the crash in Silicon Valley. 

Crash scene photos show the wreck on March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California

Crash scene photos show the wreck on March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California

March 1, 2019 in Delray, Florida: Jeremy Banner, 50, died when his 2018 Tesla Model 3 slammed into a semi-truck.

NTSB investigators said Banner turned on the autopilot feature about 10 seconds before the crash, and the autopilot did not execute any evasive maneuvers to avoid the crash. 

April 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas 

A Tesla smashed into a tree and burst into flames in Texas, resulting in the deaths of two men – the car’s owner Doctor William Varner, and his pal Everette Talbot.

Police had said it was apparent that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash in the wealthy The Woodlands neighborhood of Houston, on April 17.

But Tesla had refuted police’s claims, saying a deformed steering wheel suggested that someone was likely in the driver’s seat. 

Varner, 59, and Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S  – bought second-hand off eBay in January – smashed into a tree and burst into flames. 

Dr. William Varner, 59, (above) and Everette Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S smashed into a tree and burst into flames.

Dr. William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot (pictured), 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S smashed into a tree and burst into flames

Dr. William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S smashed into a tree and burst into flames 

May 5, 2021 in Los Angeles, California  

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5 

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5. 

Before his death, the married father of two posted social media videos of himself riding in the electric vehicle without his hands on the wheel or foot on its pedal.

The crash happened on the 210 Freeway near Fontana, California – about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. 

A preliminary investigation determined that the Tesla’s partially automated driving system called Autopilot ‘was engaged’ prior to the crash.  

A spokesman added that no final conclusion had been reached on what exactly had caused the fatal crash – the 29th involving a Tesla to have been probed by federal agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The Mack truck, which the Tesla collided with, had crashed and overturned just five minutes earlier, blocking two lanes of the highway, according to a highway patrol report. 

 

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