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NTSB preliminary report: Tesla SUV in California accelerated before crashing into freeway barrier.

The AP (6/7, Krisher) reports that according to the NTSB’s preliminary report on the March 23 crash of a Tesla SUV equipped with the Autopilot system, the SUV “accelerated just before crashing into a California freeway barrier, killing its driver.” The report also found that “data shows that the Model X SUV did not brake or try to steer around the barrier in the three seconds before the crash in Silicon Valley.”

The Washington Post (6/7, Laris, 15.68M) reports that the NTSB’s preliminary report found that “the car went from 62 mph to 70.8 mph, then hit the highway barrier in California with such force that the front of the vehicle was ripped apart” and that “the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel in the six seconds before the collision.” Executives from Tesla did not “immediately comment on the NTSB’s findings, instead pointing to a blog post from March that notes the safety benefits of the company’s technology.”

Reuters (6/7, Shepardson) reports that according to the preliminary report the Tesla driver had been given “two visual alerts and one auditory alert to place his hands on the steering wheel during the trip.” The NTSB is “investigating four Tesla crashes since last year and looking at post-crash fire issues and the use of Autopilot.” Bloomberg News (6/7, Levin, Beene, 4.46M) reports that Mark Fong, an attorney hired by the family of the driver, Walter Huang, who was killed in the crash, highlighted the fact that the “NTSB report appears to contradict Tesla’s earlier characterization of the accident and bolsters the family’s view that the car’s systems failed.” Fong said, “The Autopilot system should never have caused this to happen,”

Additional coverage included USA Today (6/7, Bomey, 11.4M), NPR (6/7, Schaper, 3.55M), the Wall Street Journal (6/7, Higgins, Spector, Subscription Publication, 6.13M), the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle (6/7, Baker, 3.29M), the Los Angeles (CA) Times (6/7, Mitchell, 4.03M), the San Jose (CA) Mercury News (6/7, Crum, 552K), Business Insider (6/7, Matousek, 5.65M), and Roadshow (6/7, 2.76M).

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