Tesla says inattentive driver to blame for fatal Model X crash

Tesla issues statement on fatal Model X collision withdraws from NTSB agreement

Tesla has withdrawn from the National Transportation Safety Board's "party agreement" related to the recent fatal Model X Autopilot accident. The NTSB said the removal was a rare move, but Tesla's information releases "do not further transportation safety or serve the public interest".

"It is unfortunate that Tesla, by its actions, did not abide by the party agreement", Sumwalt said in an NTSB news release.

Now the two sides are publicly disagreeing over whether the agency or the automaker took Tesla out of the agreement. Tesla claims it will file a complaint about the NTSB to Congress. While Tesla is no longer an official party, the NTSB says it expects Tesla to cooperate with any future data requests. UBS upped their target price on Tesla to $365.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, February 8th. Even if Tesla was, in fact, removed from the investigation, it wouldn't be unprecedented - Bloomberg notes that the feds have given other manufacturers the boot in the past for either making unauthorized statements or failing to provide sufficient information to the investigation.

Tesla sent Dan Noyes a statement Tuesday night that reads in part, "Autopilot requires the driver to be alert and have hands on the wheel. the crash happened on a clear day with several hundred feet of visibility ahead, which means that the only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road".

Another Tesla owner has since come out to detail his non-fatal crash in September 2017, which is pretty similar to Huang's incident.

Autopilot is a semi-autonomous system that handles some driving tasks.

The issue of driver attentiveness "is really a critical area", said MIT's Reimer, whose team is testing a fleet of vehicles rigged with cameras to observe how drivers perform in real-world situations.

The company made the decision on Wednesday night. In a strongly-worded statement Thursday, Tesla said, "It's been clear in our conversations with the NTSB that they're more concerned with press headlines than actually promoting safety". The family has hired Minami Tamaki LLP, which said in a statement Wednesday that it believes Tesla's Autopilot is defective and likely caused Huang's death.

The role of Autopilot is central to the investigation into the March 23 accident in which Walter Huang, of San Mateo, was killed when his Tesla crashed into a barrier between Highway 101 and Highway 85, in Mountain View.

The NTSB has not disclosed any findings from the probe. "According to the family, Mr. Huang was well aware that Autopilot was not ideal and, specifically, he told them it was not reliable in that exact location, yet he nonetheless engaged Autopilot at that location".

In the post, they revealed that the system showed that the driver's hands were not on the wheel for up to six seconds before the collision and the vehicle's logs indicated that no action was taken, although the driver was said to have received several warnings.

It was reported in early April that NTSB investigators were not happy with Tesla for releasing information on the crash. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.

"Tesla's response is reflective of its ongoing strategy of doubling down on the explicit warnings it has given to drivers on how to use, and not use, the system", said Mike Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner Inc.

Tesla promises to continue cooperating with the agency, providing technical assistance.

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