NTSB: Tesla fatal crash in 2021 is linked to excessive speed, not autopilot

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed Wednesday that its investigation into a fatal April 2021 crash involving a Tesla Model S found no indications that the vehicle was on autopilot at the time of the crash.

Instead, the probable cause of the crash was determined to be the driver's excessive speed, alcoholism, and inability to maintain control of the vehicle.

Two men were fatally injured in the crash, which set the Tesla Model S on fire.

NTSB: Tesla fatal crash in 2021

Everett Talbot, an engineer, is 69 years old, and Dr. William Varner is 59 years old.

The front passenger seat contained one man, and the back passenger seat contained the second man.

After the crash, the local police who conducted the initial investigation said they were "100% sure" that no one was in the driver's seat of the car when it crashed.

This led to widespread coverage from several media outlets, with many immediately declaring the fatal accident a crash of "a car that was on autopilot".

But while the idea of a fatal Tesla Autopilot crash might be compelling, some problems with the idea immediately emerged.

For example, the lack of lane markings on area streets meant that Autopilot could not be used.

For reference, the Model S accelerated to 67 mph before colliding in the incident.

Other details, such as the claim that firefighters had to call Tesla for help due to the supposedly uncontrollable Model S fire, were disproved by the fire chief of The Woodlands Township Fire Department just days after the accident made international news.

Needless to say, the NTSB findings revealed that the fatal crash did not involve autopilot at all.

The board noted that a review of the data from the accident showed that "the Autopilot system was not used at any time during the life of the vehicle's ownership, including the time frame until the last timestamp sent on April 17, 2021."


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