Why isn't NTSB investigating the thousands of ICE crashes that result in deaths?

Why isn't NTSB investigating the thousands of ICE crashes that result in deaths?

It's mind boggling to me that the NTSB investigates every Tesla crash that results in a death yet there are thousands of ICE crashes that result in death that are not? Is oil and the big 3 controlling NTSB ?

andy.connor.e | 2 januari 2020

Im sure they investigate crashes. its just that 99.9% of them are not publicized.

GoldAK47 | 2 januari 2020

They do investigate them....

Do you think they started in 1967 and only investigate tesla?

Or do you think ...I dont know...maybe you only pay attention to stories that say tesla?

PTdenver | 2 januari 2020

yes i believe they formed in '67 to be proactive and Ready when Tesla came along , am i wrong? AR15's are better :)

BadgerErickson | 2 januari 2020

Here's one for ya: I worked for GM when they intro'd the heated washer fluid bottles, and we had fires on the final assembly line. Wiring was bad. They never fixed it. DO you know how many house fires are a result of that wiring, with the Tahoe/Suburubans parked inside the garages? All these mysterious "house explosions" are from faulty gas lines and the utility companies. Rigghttt.........NTSB is just another federal bureaucracy bucket of "it's not MY job..."

jerrykham | 2 januari 2020

Also there isn't a lot to investigate in most ICE crashes these days. Yes, they are starting to get some of the driver assist capabilities that we, as Tesla owners, have had for some time. But there is a good reason to investigate Tesla, Rivian, Google's Waymo, Uber's self driving, etc. as these vehicles use new tech that is both on the cutting edge and also in need of updated / new legislation or safety rules. For example before any of these companies can do much with real FSD insurance rules will need updating, fault rules need to be updated, etc. NTSB needs to help folks to be ready for this.

rob | 2 januari 2020

The Ford F150 has been in the news a lot for spontaneous combustion. That, combined w/ Aluminum body makes for a big pile of molten truck. Just google it.

PrescottRichard | 2 januari 2020

If I’m reading the facts right about the crash in CA where a 2016 ran a red light and killed 2 in a Honda Civic going through a green light then that’s an AP1 car and was never advertised to stop at red lights. So that should be a quicker investigation. Having AP on in that situation is not hugely different than having cruise control on. For that matter *no* Tesla has been advertised as being able to recognize and stop at red lights right? Some (beta users?) have had updates that *might* recognize & stop at red lights but that’s all I’m aware of. Maybe I’m mistaken? I have a 2016 so I’m way out of that loop!

The Blue 3 that crashed into the back of a fire truck is a disturbing crash for obvious reasons in that the driver’s wife was killed. The driver doesn’t remember if AP was on or not, but hitting a firetruck is becoming a Tesla meme. I’d be curious how that turns out. Just sad.

No doubt there will be updates that cause more driver interaction as a result of these crashes.

blue adept | 2 januari 2020

We'll have to wait until Tesla retrieves the data from the CAN bus data logger and releases it to the public to know whether or not the AP system was active at the time, let alone whether or not it was available on the couple's model.

It'd also be interesting to learn of whether or not Tesla's have an aversion for fire trucks, or if it has something to do with the truck's color schemes, or perhaps something about their on-board traffic preemption or radio equipment that negates the Tesla's telemetry sensors.

andy.connor.e | 2 januari 2020

If autopilot was active, it will more than likely be the case that the driver was not paying attention. Like just about every single autopilot accident.

nukequazar | 2 januari 2020

@PrescottRichard, latest couple of firmware versions attempt to see stoplights but they do a very poor job of it, rarely displaying the stoplight for me, at least. Even if a stoplight is detected, AP will not stop the car. AP only stops a car behind another car.

Having AP work on city streets without stoplight and stop sign detection/stopping is actually very dangerous because drivers are lulled into a false sense of security, having to be ultra conscious of when AP will stop for us (behind another car), and we need to stop on our own (stoplight/sign).

This accident case, apparently, the car was in AP (presumably NoAP) on the highway, existed the highway, but did not stop at a light after exiting. This presents a particularly dangerous situation because the car was driving at full freeway speed, likely on nav on autopilot with TACC, lane keeping, and navigation, and it is up to the driver to pay attention of when to take control. If there had been a car in front of the Tesla on the offramp then the Tesla would have stopped. Seems in this case there was not a car between the Tesla and the intersection stoplight. If the driver did not take control, the Tesla would drive right through the stoplight at full speed.

These have been accidents waiting to happen, unfortunately. This level of automation (level 2 autonomy) is fun and helpful but requires full attention by the driver in order to avoid accidents. This is a new world, and we are learning. There will be accidents.

kaffine | 3 januari 2020

blue adept

Most of the Tesla hitting fire trucks I have heard of have to do with the car in front of the Tesla changing lanes and the Tesla not realizing the fire truck is stopped in the lane. It is taking Tesla too long to identify a stopped object when the car in front it was tracking changes lanes. It is much easier to detect a car slowing to a stop and reacting to it than just have a stopped fire truck appear and have to react to it. | 3 januari 2020

I can't say for every offramp, but AP automatically slows for me on every off-ramp I've used it on. I take control soon after it starts to slow, but I never expect it to stop for me as it's clear it's not FSD yet.

kaffine | 3 januari 2020

NTSB frequently investigates non Tesla accidents and for the most part their investigation reveals the same thing. Driver error is the major cause not safety defects with the vehicle.

A lot of the recalls on cars are due to NTSB investigations finding safety issues.

Just because you don't hear about them doesn't mean the NTSB isn't conducting them.

PrescottRichard | 3 januari 2020

We’re talking about 2 different accidents here. So first - the 2016 Model S that ran a light and killed two people doesn’t have NOA (I’m assuming all 2016 cars have AP1 which is what I have), right? Regardless, as I pointed out before there are no Tesla cars that were ever advertised to stop at red lights.

As for the Model 3, a follow up in our local paper pointed out that the driver is an Armed Forces Veteran and they had a dog in the car which has since gone missing. Hopefully we’ll continue to get updates as they are available. | 3 januari 2020

AP2 started in S 1-Oct-2016, so without more details it could be AP1 or AP2.

blue adept | 3 januari 2020


Granted, that sounds marginally reasonable except that each of Tesla's AI chips runs at 2GHz and perform 36 trillion operations per second, so the only scenario that I can envision where such a computational failure could occur is if it were a spur-of-the-moment//last second lane change by the leading car as though it were a "staged accident" wherein the leading car's driver sets up the following Tesla driver to crash, kinda like a variation on the "swoop and squat" scam:

As unthinkably immoral as that may sound we might well have to come to terms with just such antics occurring and learn to be vigilant in watching out for such 'bad actors' to protect ourselves from the haters because, as unfortunate as it may be to say, there are people like that out there.

blue adept | 3 januari 2020


Your contention is also a good point, but I don't think that even a human could react any faster than the AI computer, if it turns out to be the case that the cars were using AP.

kaffine | 3 januari 2020

blue adept

It isn't the speed of the processor it is an issue of the programming at this point. Do I think Tesla will eventually get to the point they can detect and react yes. However they are not there yet.

If I had to guess I would say it is an issue with trying to avoid phantom braking. Radar tends to detect overpasses and cameras detect shadows. They are looking for certain parameters before deciding it is really an object in the lane before it slams the brakes on. In the scenario where the car in front it was tracking changes lane just before the stopped vehicle it doesn't have enough time to process it is really an object in the lane before it hits the truck. The ones I have read about it was the car in front of the Tesla changed lanes just before getting to the fire truck the driver in the front car knows he is going to change lanes before he gets to the truck so doesn't slow down, now the Tesla only has maybe 10 car lengths to react and the human driver isn't paying any attention at all. Tesla AI is not advance enough to understand what just happened so it doesn't react.

From the owners manual.

Warning: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
cannot detect all objects and, especially
in situations when you are driving over
50 mph (80 km/h), may not brake/
decelerate when a vehicle or object is
only partially in the driving lane or when a
vehicle you are following moves out of
your driving path and a stationary or
slow-moving vehicle or object is in front
of you. Always pay attention to the road
ahead and stay prepared to take
immediate corrective action. Depending
on Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to avoid a
collision can result in serious injury or
death. In addition, Traffic-Aware Cruise
Control may react to vehicles or objects

blue adept | 3 januari 2020


"Always pay attention to the road ahead and stay prepared to take immediate corrective action. Depending on Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to avoid a collision can result in serious injury or death."

Pretty much says it all right there, now we just need to wait to learn whether the AP was active or not.