Post-Crash Fire in a Tesla is Examined After Fatal Wreck
Tesla cars with their autopilot system and lithium-ion batteries are seen by some commentators as representing the future of driving. However, a wreck that claimed the lives of two high school seniors has put the pioneering carmaker under pressure with investigators concentrating on a post-crash fire in a Tesla.
The Tesla crashed into a wall in Fort Lauderdale in Florida last week. The impact left two young men dead in the fiery wreck, and a third man hospitalized. It also prompted a federal investigation into the crash and the electric car the three were riding in.
A report on ABC News noted the National Transportation Safety Board launched a fourth active investigation into Tesla.
Three of those probes are looking into the Tesla’s autopilot function. However, the post-crash fire in a Tesla is the focus of the latest investigation, in particular how first responders can best extinguish a blaze in an electric vehicle. The investigation will also consider the transportation of the lithium-ion battery.
Two high school seniors were killed in an intense fire when the Tesla Model S crashed into a wall this week in a residential neighborhood. This was a horrific crash. Witnesses said they saw the teens moving in the car as it burned. Police say excessive speed may have been a factor in this crash. The young driver who lost his life received a ticket for driving at 112 mph in March. According to media reports, his father later altered settings on the Tesla so as it could not go faster than 85 mph.
The crash again calls into safety lithium-ion batteries. Federal probes into fires involving these batteries are not limited to Tesla vehicles, the NTSB said last week. They have been investigated since the early days of electric cars.
NTSB Chairman Robert S. Sumwalt stated:
“NTSB has a long history of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium-ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium-ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”
The NTSB is also investigating the issues of fires in the transportation of hydrogen gas for fuel cell vehicles. The federal investigators want to understand the impact of these new transportation technologies when they form part of a transportation accident.
First responders faced a similar challenge dealing with a Tesla crash in March. A car crashed in Mountain View, California. On that occasion, it was using the autopilot system. The battery of the Tesla again caught fire again a week later after the car was towed to an impound lot.
Tesla is facing pressure over the lithium-ion batteries in its car and its controversial autopilot system.
Post-Crash Fire in a Tesla Raises Questions
If the notion of lithium-ion batteries catching fire sounds familiar that may be because this issue has been experienced outside the car industry. The massive recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to these batteries catching fire made headlines two years ago. The lithium-ion battery was also the culprit in fires in hoverboards that led to the mass recall of the toy.
It’s just one headache for Elon Musk’s Tesla which is also under pressure over its autopilot technology after crashes.
In 2016, a Tesla being driven on autopilot failed to see a truck in Florida and crashed into it, killing the Tesla driver and prompting an NTSA investigation.
The autopilot technology apparently failed to see a white-sided truck in bright conditions on the Florida highway.
The crashes and speculation about dangerous batteries has put Tesla on the defensive. The company issued a statement this month saying:
“Serious high-speed collisions can result in a fire, regardless of the type of car. Tesla’s billions of miles of actual driving data shows that a gas car in the United States is five times more likely to experience a fire than a Tesla vehicle.”
Although this may be true, there are far fewer Teslas and other electric cars on the roads compared to gas cars. There have been enough fires in lithium-ion batteries to sound the alarm. We await the findings of the post-crash fire in the Tesla.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers helps people who have been injured in automobile accidents due to the fault of another driver or a manufacturer. Please call us at (757) 455-0077.