U.S. agencies probe fatal Tesla crash

Two U.S. agencies on Monday said they were investigating Saturday’s Tesla crash in Texas that left two dead, a crash which local police said appeared to have occurred with no one in the driver's seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board both said they would investigate the crash.

According to local media reports, the 20-19 Tesla Model S was traveling at high speed near Houston, when it failed to round a curve and went off the road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames.

After the fire was extinguished, authorities located two occupants in the vehicle, with one in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat of the Tesla.

The crash occurred as scrutiny is increasing over Tesla's semi-automated Autopilot driving system following recent crashes.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that "using Tesla’s driverless system — or any other — shouldn’t be a death risk. Advancements in driving technology must first & foremost be safe."

He added that "comprehensive oversight" by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "is paramount to prevent future semi-automated driving deaths."

Just hours before the crash, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted to his more than 50 million followers quote, "Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle."

Tesla, whose shares were down 3.4% on Monday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company advises drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention while using Autopilot, but some Tesla drivers say they are able to avoid putting their hands on the wheel for extended periods when using it.

Video Transcript

- Two US agencies on Monday said they were investigating Saturday's Tesla crash in Texas that left two dead-- a crash which local police said appeared to have occurred with no one in the driver's seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board both said they would investigate the crash. According to local media reports, the 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at high speed near Houston when it failed to round a curve and went off the road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames.

After the fire was extinguished, authorities located two occupants in the vehicle with one in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat of the Tesla. The crash occurred as scrutiny is increasing over Tesla semi-automated autopilot driving system following recent crashes. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that quote, using Tesla's driverless system or any other should it be a death risk. Advancements in driving technology must first and foremost be safe.

He added that comprehensive oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is paramount to prevent future semi automated driving deaths. Just hours before the crash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted to his more than 50 million followers quote, Tesla with autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.

Tesla, whose shares were down 3.4% on Monday, did not immediately respond to our request for comment. The company advises drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention while using autopilot, but some Tesla drivers say they are able to avoid putting their hands on the wheel for extended periods when using it.