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10 more fatal crashes linked to automated driving systems — NHTSA

New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 10 people were killed in crashes in the US involving vehicles using automated driving systems, during a four-month period earlier this year, The Associated Press reports.

The crashes involved Tesla vehicles, although the data does not make it clear whether the automated driving systems or driver error were ultimately responsible for the accidents. An eleventh crash involved a Ford pickup which was later determined to be unequipped with Ford’s partially automated driving system.

Four of the crashes resulted in the deaths of motorcyclists. Safety advocates have noted that crashes involving motorcyclists and Tesla vehicles using automated driver-assist systems have steadily increased.

Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety, said he is baffled by what he called a general lack of action from the NHTSA.

“I think there’s a pretty clear pattern of bad behavior on the part of Tesla when it comes to obeying the edicts of the (federal) safety act, and NHTSA is just sitting there,” he said. “How many more deaths do we need to see of motorcyclists?”

The NHTSA has been investigating Tesla’s Autopilot system since August of last year after numerous crashes involving Tesla vehicles colliding with emergency vehicles and flashing signs. NHTSA has documented 16 such crashes, which resulted in injuries and one fatality.

The ten crashes from this year were added to a database built by the agency to assess the overall safety of automated driving systems. The database also includes six fatalities resulting from accidents between July of last year and May 2022.

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