Fatal Tesla crash involving tractor-trailer under investigation

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The driver of a Tesla Model 3 was killed when the car went underneath a tractor-trailer that was turning left at this intersection at Pero Farms on State Road 7 (U.S. 441) in Delray Beach, Florida.The driver of a Tesla Model 3 was killed when the car went underneath a tractor-trailer that was turning left at this intersection at Pero Farms on State Road 7 (U.S. 441) in Delray Beach, Florida.

Another crash involving a Tesla sedan and a tractor-trailer is under investigation by federal agencies. It is unknown as of Tuesday whether or not the Tesla Model 3 was driving in its self-driving Autopilot mode at the time of the March 1 crash in Delray Beach, Florida.

According to an accident report from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Jeremy Banner was killed when the Tesla Model 3 he was driving southbound on State Road 7 (U.S. 441) went underneath the side of a tractor-trailer that was making a left turn out of Pero Farms onto the northbound lanes of the divided highway, shearing off the roof of the car. The report states the car continued traveling for approximately three-tenths of a mile after the collision.

The report adds that the truck, a 2019 International LT driven by Richard Wood, made a “brief stop” at a stop sign before beginning its left turn onto the road and refers to the truck “pulling into the path” of the car. PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera said Tuesday afternoon the crash is still under investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have both sent teams to investigate the crash.

“NHTSA is sending a field team to investigate the Tesla Model 3 crash that occurred Friday in Delray Beach, Florida,” NHTSA said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “The agency also has an on-going investigation on the Tesla Model S crash on Feb. 24 in Davie, Florida, and will take additional actions if appropriate.”

NHTSA has the authority to force a recall if it determines there is a vehicle defect that impacts safety.

The crash is similar to one involving a Tesla Model S near Gainesville, Florida, in 2016 in which the car, with Autopilot activated, drove under a tractor-trailer that was making a left turn across a highway, killing the driver. In that crash, NHTSA said the Tesla driver was leaning too heavily on the car’s driver assist systems, which failed to brake when the truck crossed the road in front of it. NTSB also found that the Tesla driver was speeding at the time of the 2016 crash, but also laid some blame on the trucker, saying he failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming Tesla and had used marijuana prior to the crash.

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