U.S. safety regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are evaluating the circumstances connected to a Tesla Model S that slammed into a fire department vehicle in Jordan, Utah on May 13, reports Business Insider.
When the accident occurred, the Tesla car's Autopilot semiautonomous driving technology was activated.
This is the latest investigation by federal officials into several recent accidents involving Tesla vehicles.
While driving at approximately 60 miles per hour, a 28-year-old female motorist rammed into the fire truck from behind. Both drivers suffered minor injuries. The Tesla driver told police she was using the vehicle's Autopilot feature at the time of the crash; she also admitted she was looking at her cell phone prior to the collision, reports Fortune.
Even when it is engaged, Autopilot requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.
Autopilot always calls for some input and oversight from a person behind the wheel, reports Business Insider. In fact, the feature's ability to spot road markings that keep Tesla vehicles centered in traffic lanes is limited. Moreover, its functionality may be inconsistent, as it can be impacted by changing road and weather conditions.
While NHTSA's special crash team investigates the Utah collision, the National Transportation Safety Board is not presently involved in the investigation.