NTSB to investigate Tesla crash in Florida that left 2 dead

AP Business
Tesla store, tesla logo

FILE – This Feb. 9, 2019, file photo shows a sign bearing the company logo outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Federal officials said Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 they will investigate a fiery Tesla crash that left two people dead in South Florida. Three investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are traveling next week to Coral Gables, where a Tesla Model 3 left the roadway and collided with a tree Monday, the agency announced on Twitter. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Federal officials said Friday they will investigate a fiery Tesla crash that left two people dead in South Florida.

Three investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are traveling next week to Coral Gables, where a Tesla Model 3 left the roadway and collided with a tree Monday, the agency announced on Twitter.

“We always look especially closely at newer technology,” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

The NTSB investigation will focus on the operation of the vehicle and the post-crash fire that consumed the car, officials said.

Tesla vehicles don’t use gasoline that could raise the risk of a big fire after a crash, but the company’s guidance to first responders includes a warning about battery fires. Tesla representatives have said that high-speed collisions can result in a fire for any kind of car. The Coral Gables crash occurred near a residential intersection, and it wasn’t immediately known whether speed was a factor.

It was also unclear whether the car’s partially automated driving system was activated at the time of the crash. The government is scrutinizing Tesla’s system. In the past five years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent investigators to 31 crashes involving vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, including 25 involving Teslas.

The NTSB will begin its investigation on Monday, complete on-scene work within a week and have a preliminary report in about 30 days, officials said.

Coral Gables police have identified the victims as a 20-year-old man, who was driving, and a 19-year-old woman. Coral Gables is located southwest of downtown Miami.

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