NTSB Report into the fatal March 23, 2018, crash of a Tesla, Mountain View, California

The NTSB’s investigation revealed the Tesla’s “Autopilot” was activated during the last 10 seconds prior to impact. [See footnote #2.]

The cushion-style barrier that was on this gore was completely destroyed by the impact.

The Tesla’s lane-keeping assist system (“Autosteer”) initiated a left steering input toward the gore area while the sport utility vehicle was about 5.9 seconds and about 560 feet from the crash attenuator. No driver-applied steering wheel torque was detected by “Autosteer” at the time of the steering movement and this hands-off steering indication continued up to the point of impact.

Physical damage to the Tesla was immense and it then caught fire.

The Tesla’s forward collision warning system did not provide an alert and automatic emergency braking did not activate. The 38-year-old driver of the SUV did not apply the brakes and did not initiate any steering movement.

A review of cell phone records and data retrieved from his Apple iPhone 8 Plus showed a game application was active and was the frontmost open application on his phone during the crash trip.

The driver’s lack of evasive action combined with data indicating his hands were not detected on the steering wheel, is consistent with a person distracted by a portable electronic device.



  1. The two photographs above, from outside sources, have been added here by Road Safety USA, so that readers may better understand the collision and the outcome of this crash.
  2. The opening paragraph of the above verbatim excerpt  can cause confusion.  We (Road Safety USA) have contacted the NTSB to ask the precise meaning of the word “activated.”   In other words, do they mean that the action of activating it — as in switching it on — occurred during those final ten seconds (which is the way it is written), or do they mean it was already active and functioning throughout the final ten seconds?  This lack of clarity is surprising.
  3. Source:  NTSB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.