DETROIT (AP) — Two crashes involving Teslas apparently running on autopilot are drawing the attention of federal regulators and pointing to a potential new hazard on U.S. highways: Partially automated vehicles may fail to stop for motorcycles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dispatched investigation teams to two crashes last month in which Teslas collided with motorcycles on dark highways. Both were deadly.
The agency suspects that Tesla’s partially automated driver assistance system was used in each of them. The agency says once it gathers more information, it could include the crashes in a larger investigation of Teslas hitting emergency vehicles parked along highways. NHTSA is also investigating more than 750 complaints that Teslas may brake for no reason.
The first crash involving a motorcyclist happened at 4:47 a.m. on July 7 on State Route 91, a highway in Riverside, California. A white Tesla Model Y SUV was driving east in the high occupancy vehicle lane. Ahead of him was a rider on a green Yamaha V-Star motorcycle, the California Highway Patrol said in a statement.
At some point the vehicles collided and the unidentified motorcyclist was ejected from the Yamaha. He was pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters.
Whether or not the Tesla was running on Autopilot is under investigation, a CHP spokesperson said.
The second crash happened around 1:09 a.m. July 24 on Interstate 15 near Draper, Utah. A Tesla Model 3 sedan was behind a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, also in a HOV lane. “The Tesla driver did not see the motorcyclist and collided with the rear of the motorcycle, throwing the rider off the bike,” the Utah Department of Public Safety said in a statement. press release prepared.
The rider, identified as Landon Embry, 34, of Orem, Utah, died at the scene. The Tesla driver told authorities he had activated the vehicle’s Autopilot setting, according to the statement.