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Fatal Tesla crash in California draws federal investigators to site of head-on collision

Fatal Tesla crash in California draws federal investigators to site of head-on collision
The Tesla company logo is shown at a Tesla dealership in Littleton, Colo., Feb. 2, 2020. A fatal July 2023 crash in California involving a Tesla has drawn the attention of federal investigators, who sent a team to the site of the site of what appears to have been a head-on crash. Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File

A fatal crash involving a Tesla in California has drawn the attention of federal investigators, who sent a team to the site of the collision in South Lake Tahoe.

A Tesla Model 3 and Subaru Impreza collided head on during the evening of July 5, according to state police, and the driver of the Subaru died a short time later. Local media reports say that an infant that had been traveling in the Tesla died last week.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking into a string of accidents involving Teslas that are believed to have had automated driving technology installed.

The NHTSA last sent investigators to a March 15 in Halifax County, North Carolina, that injured a 17-year-old student. The State Highway Patrol said at the time that the driver of the 2022 Tesla Model Y, a 51-year-old male, failed to stop for the bus, which was displaying all of its activated warning devices.

Sending special investigation teams to crashes means that the agency suspects the Teslas were operating systems that can handle some aspects of driving, including Autopilot and "Full Self-Driving." Despite the names used for the technology, Tesla says these are driver-assist systems and that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.

The NHTSA has sent investigative teams to at least 30 crashes since 2016 involving Teslas suspected of using partially automated driving systems. At least 16 people have died in the crashes.

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