Tesla will no longer be able to participate in the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model X after it violated the agency’s rules on sharing investigative information before being vetted and confirmed.
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The NTSB sometimes offers companies a role in an investigation when it can provide technical assistance to the agency and Tesla was offered and accepted the role in the investigation of the March 23 incident. The crash involved a Model X that was traveling near Mountain View, Calif., with the vehicle’s semi-autonomous autopilot system engaged.
There was some back and forth between Tesla and the NTSB on why the electric car maker was removed from the investigation and whether it had chosen to leave or not. Tesla initially claimed that it decided to leave the investigation because the NTSB wasn’t allowing the company to release information about the investigation to the public. But in a statement released April 12, the NTSB said that Tesla was, in fact, involuntarily removed because it decided to release information without running it by the agency first.
It was reported in early April that NTSB investigators were not happy with Tesla for releasing information on the crash. Tesla publicly stated that the autopilot system had been engaged with the minimum follow distance set. The company indicated that with minimum follow distances that drivers needed to be attentive to the road and ready to intervene with hands on the steering wheel. It was revealed that the driver in the March 23 crash, who was killed when the car slammed into a highway barrier, was not acting according to its recommendations when the accident occurred.
The NTSB asks parties that are involved in crash investigations to vet released data before releasing it to the public because