Fatal Electric Car Crash with a Parked Semi So Horrific a Special Crash Investigation Unit Has Been Assigned
Another fatal accident involving an electric vehicle left two Lompoc, California, natives dead last week near Gainesville, Florida.
A 66-year-old female and 67-year-old male inside a 2015 Tesla Model S exited Interstate 75 and entered a rest stop on Wednesday, Fox Business reported. The vehicle proceeded to crash into the back of a parked 18-wheeler, and both people in the Tesla died.
Both a local law enforcement agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the tragic event, but neither has confirmed whether any of the advanced driver assistance systems were engaged when the crash occurred.
“That is a consideration that will be explored during our investigation,” Highway patrol Lt. P.V. Riordian said.
The NHTSA has appointed a Special Crash Investigations unit to assess the incident, Fox Business reported.
“The impact was so severe, the car’s roof was sheared off,” Former NBCUniversal Senior Executive Mike Sington wrote on Twitter alongside an image showing the severe damage.
This is the 37th Tesla crash to be probed by the NHTSA. Couple from California were killed when their Tesla drove into the back of a Walmart truck that was parked in a Florida parking lot. The impact was so severe, the car’s roof was sheared off. pic.twitter.com/FXo3NoJEXg
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 9, 2022
The NHTSA requires companies to report crashes involving ADAS, Fox Business reported. From July 2021 to May 2022, Tesla reported 273 crashes in which ADAS were involved.
If investigators determine ADAS were involved in the Wednesday crash, it would be the 38th crash involving ADAS to be investigated by the NHTSA since 2016.
Of the previous 37 wrecks, 30 involved Teslas and 11 of the crashes were fatal. A total of 15 people died in those crashes.
In June, Fox News reported the NHTSA had elevated its probe into Tesla’s Autopilot feature. The probe moved into an engineering analysis, and it could ultimately lead to a recall in the worst-case scenario for Tesla.
In Sacramento, California, Metropolitan Fire Department responded in June to a report of a Tesla that had caught fire after sitting idle in a wrecking yard for three weeks. The department was forced to take drastic measures just to extinguish the blaze.
“Crews arrived to our first Tesla fire,” the department wrote on Twitter with a video of the vehicle. “It was involved in an accident 3 wks ago, and was parked in a wrecking yard. Crews knocked the fire down but it kept reigniting/off-gassing in the battery compartment. Crews created a pit, placed the car inside, and filled the pit with water.”
Crews arrived to our first Tesla fire. It was involved in an accident 3 wks ago, and was parked in a wrecking yard. Crews knocked the fire down but it kept reigniting/off-gassing in the battery compartment. Crews created a pit, placed the car inside, and filled the pit with water pic.twitter.com/Lz5b5770lO
— Metro Fire of Sacramento (@metrofirepio) June 12, 2022
While disasters like this one may be rare, a car that bursts into flames while sitting idle is an obvious safety threat. It was also made worse by its tendency to reignite, which is a problem that has previously been reported with electric vehicle fires.
Project Director of EV FireSafe in Melbourne, Australia, Emma Sutcliffe told CNBC that firefighters are “just expected to kind of figure it out” when it comes to EV fires. But with the new technology being rolled out at a record pace, he said this becomes almost impossible.
“We’re still trying to catch up with all this stuff,” Chief Fire Officer of Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion Fire Chas McGarvey said. “But it changes almost every day!”
Before these vehicles hit the market, Tesla should ensure these safety risks are identified and properly addressed. By continuing to push vehicles with serious potential problems, they are putting Americans at risk unnecessarily.
UPDATE, July 29, 2022: Online insurance broker AutoInsuranceEZ.com researched auto fires by type of car using data from the National Transportation Safety Board, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Recalls.gov and concluded “that despite the focus on EV fires in the news, they are not inherently more dangerous than gas or hybrid vehicles, although electric fires tend to be more difficult than gas fires to extinguish.”
Perhaps more importantly, the independent, nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute in a study of “electric and conventional versions of nine models from 2011 to 2019” concluded that electric vehicles may be considered significantly safer than similar conventional models because “rates of injury claims related to the drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 percent lower than for identical conventional models over 2011-19. This result is similar to an earlier HLDI study of hybrid vehicles, and one likely explanation is that the large batteries used in both types of vehicles make them substantially heavier than their conventional counterparts. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multivehicle crashes.”
The Western Journal is adding this information to this story as important context regarding the safety of electric vehicles in general.
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