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US Investigation Into Crash Involving Tesla and School Bus Student

by Andrew Wright
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The U.S. government sent a team of people to look into an accident that happened in Detroit involving a Tesla car. This car might have been driving itself when it hit someone who had just gotten off their school bus.

The government safety agency said Friday that it will investigate a car accident which happened on March 15th in North Carolina. The State Police reported that the driver, who was 51-years-old, did not stop for a school bus which had its warning devices turned on.

The agency is sending out special teams to examine Teslas that were involved in accidents. This suggests that the cars might have been using systems for driving like “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving”. However, Tesla stated that these are just driver-aid features, meaning drivers have to be aware of what’s going on when they’re driving at all times. We sent a message trying to reach out to Tesla for comment.

Tillman Mitchell, a student from the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School, was walking home from the bus when he was hit by a car. He got really hurt and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. He was in serious but stable condition two days after the accident.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol did not answer the calls made to them on Friday. We don’t know anything about the condition of the student or if they have been released from WakeMed hospital in Raleigh yet.

Since 2016, the NHTSA has sent people to investigate over 30 accidents involving Tesla cars that had either the Autopilot or Full Self Driving feature turned on. These crashes involved pedestrians, motorcyclists, huge trucks, and even stopped emergency vehicles. Sadly, at least 14 people died in these accidents.

In March, some officials investigated an accident that happened on February 18th. It involved a Tesla Model S car and a fire department truck parked across the highway in California that was there to help people from an earlier crash. As a result of this incident, the driver in the Tesla died, one passenger got hurt badly, while four firefighters only had minor injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has started looking into crashes involving Teslas with Autopilot on them. Some of these cars crashed into emergency vehicles that were parked and helping out others who were in accidents. Over the last year, NHTSA got more serious about making sure Tesla cars are safe and even recalled some models.

Now, they’re checking to see how Autopilot notices and responds when there’s an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road.

The agency that looks after cars won’t tell us what investigations it is doing. However, over the last year they have been keeping a close eye on Teslas and trying to make sure that people who own them can be safe.

It’s important that Tesla and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figure out why those cars don’t always notice when school buses, emergency vehicles and other cars have their warning lights flashing. This way, we can ensure the problem is solved before anyone gets hurt, according to Michael Brooks, who runs an organization called the Center For Auto Safety in Washington.

For a couple of years now, experts have been saying that car companies need to figure out why their cars don’t react to flashing lights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants the companies to recall these vehicles because it can be dangerous. Recently, NHTSA started investigating vehicles like the Model Y SUV that may have issues with their steering wheel and seat belt anchorings.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked into issues with Teslas like sudden brakes for no reason, problems with their suspension, and other things.

In February this year, NHTSA made Tesla recall almost 363,000 cars which had a “Full Self-Driving” software installed because it could break driving laws. They said the problem could be fixed just by updating the car’s software online.

Tesla car owners are trying out the system on public roads. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sometimes the Tesla cars do potentially dangerous things – like driving straight through an intersection where you had to turn, going fast through a yellow light without slowing down, or not reducing speed when needed. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into this and has asked for documents about “Full Self-Driving” and Autopilot from Tesla.

Hannah Schoenbaum in Raleigh, North Carolina wrote something that contributed to this story.

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