WASHINGTON — Two fatal crashes, both involving Tesla Model 3 sedans with driver assistance technology were reported between Sept. 16 and Oct. 15, according to federal data released Tuesday.
Both deaths in the crashes occurred in California, though many details have been redacted or are considered confidential, NHTSA records show.
Tesla’s autopilot was a driver assistance system under close scrutiny by federal regulators after a series of accidents in the US that resulted in more than a dozen injuries and one death.
By October 15, NHTSA had received reports of 18 fatal accidents involving vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, as it began to force automakers, suppliers and technology companies disclose data for the past year.
The department’s order applies to cars equipped with level 2 systems — with driver assistance functions such as lane keeping and adaptive cruise control — and Level 3 to Level 5 systems, which are not yet available to consumers but are being tested and deployed on a limited scale on public roads.
Companies are subject to NHTSA order must notify the agency within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident and provide additional updates within specified deadlines.
Since July 2021, companies subject to the order have reported 605 accidents involving vehicles equipped with Level 2 driver assistance systems. Tesla and American Honda Motor Co. reported the most such accidents: 474 for Tesla and 107 for Honda.
202 accidents involving fully automated vehicles were registered. However, no fatal failures involving these systems have been reported to NHTSA since inception data collection.
While NHTSA has used the data to conduct new investigations and recalls, and to inform ongoing safety studies, the agency cautioned that the data has a number of limitations and therefore cannot be used to draw any meaningful conclusions or compare safety systems or accident rates among automakers.
Some companies, such as Tesla, may be overrepresented in the data when their vehicles remotely transmit crash data via telematics rather than learning about the crash from a police report or other means. A crash may also have multiple reports if the automaker and equipment supplier comply with the NHTSA order.