U.S. Launches Investigation Into Fatal Tesla Crash, Fire in California

By Tumbenhaur via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States that the fatal crash and vehicle fire that involved a Model X of Tesla Inc near Mountain View, California, which happened last week has urged a federal field investigation, sparking a huge selloff in stocks of Tesla.

Tesla dropped $25 per share, or by 8.2 percent, to close at $279.18, its lowest close in nearly a year, following the news of the said investigation. Shares of Nvidia Corp, a chipmaker, closed down by 7.8 percent following its announcement that it has suspended its self-driving tests across the globe with partners such as Tesla.

The NTSB and police said that it was not clear if the automated control system of Tesla was driving the car at the time of the said incident, which killed the Tesla driver who was 38 years old. The crash also involved two other vehicles. The vehicles of Tesla have a system that is called the Autopilot that handles some of its driving tasks.

In a statement, Tesla said: “We have been deeply saddened by this accident, and we have offered our full cooperation to the authorities as we work to establish the facts of the incident.”

The scrutiny of the government regarding the company that is based in Palo Alto, California is heightening as this is the second field investigation that was launched by the NTSB into a Tesla crash since January.

The California Highway Patrol said that the electric-powered Tesla Model X crashed into a freeway divider last Friday and then was struck by a Mazda prior to colliding with an Audi. The lithium batteries of the Tesla caught fire and emergency officials consulted the engineers of the company prior to determining a way on how to extinguish the battery fire and move the said vehicle safely. The NTSB said that the issues that are being investigated include the post-crash fire and removing the vehicle from the crash scene.

Last January, the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States sent some investigators to California to investigate on a crash of a Tesla and a fire truck that was apparently travelling in semi-autonomous mode. Both agencies have not reported any findings.