The Tesla driver may have a car on autopilot when he posted videos in U.S. news prior to the fatal crash
A man killed in a car accident may have his Tesla on autopilot when he posted social media videos of himself, police said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the crash in Fontana, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
It is the 29th case the federal agency has investigated involving a Tesla.
Driver Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, died after his Tesla Model 3 hit an overturned truck at around 2:30 a.m. on May 5.
Another man tried to help the truck driver when the Tesla hit him, leaving him badly injured.
Mr. Hendrickson was a member of the Southern California branch of a Tesla club and posted photos and videos of his car on social media.
In a video on Instagram, he was sitting in the driver’s seat without his hands on the steering wheel or his foot on the pedal, with the comment: “Best carpool buddy possible, even takes the boring traffic for me.”
The California Highway Patrol said their investigation so far found that the Tesla’s partially automated driving system – autopilot – was on before the crash, although they haven’t determined whether it’s a contributing factor.
They did not specify when the videos were posted, but added that drivers need to be reminded that “driving is a complex task that requires the driver’s full attention”.
The autopilot can keep a car in its lane and at a safe distance behind the vehicles in front, but Tesla has stated that it is not fully autonomous and that drivers must continue to be careful and ready to take over driving at all times.
At least three people have died in previous US autopilot accidents.
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