Tesla data show driver took her hands off wheel before Utah crash

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USA safety regulators have launched investigation into a crash in Utah that occurred when a Tesla Model S plowed into a fire department vehicle while it was on "autopilot" mode, the media reported.

Sharing details about how Tesla Model 3 has earned the "superior" rating for the front crash prevention tests, IIHS has revealed that the vehicle passed the 12 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour front crash prevention tests by successfully avoiding a crash at both the speed levels.

Huang's hands were "not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision", Tesla said in the blog.

Tesla advises drivers that they must keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times while using Autopilot, which the company says does not make the vehicle "autonomous".

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent its special crash investigations team to the state, after a summary of data from the auto involved in the Friday evening crash was released on Wednesday.

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the (approximately) 40,000 people who died in United States auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage", Musk said in a tweet. Witnesses indicated the TFILE - In this Friday, May 11, 2018, file photo released by the South Jordan Police Department shows a traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a Fire Department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah. On two occasions, the driver had her hands off the wheel for more than a minute each time, reengaging briefly with the steering wheel only after a visual alert from the auto.

The woman suffered a broken foot and some abrasions from the air bag deployment but, according to police, escaped relatively unscathed from the crash that demolished the front end of the Tesla.

According to the South Jordan Police Department's summary of its technician's findings, the 28-year-old driver had repeatedly enabled and disabled the Autopilot throughout the course of her drive. The woman told police the car's autopilot technology was on at the time of the crash.

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Some automakers, such as Cadillac, have driver assist system that only function if maps indicate that the vehicle is traveling on a route, typically a highway, that is compatible with a auto taking over some driving duties. The NTSB is also investigating a Tesla Model S crash that left two people dead and another injured in Florida.

The Utah driver was issued a traffic citation for "failure to keep proper lookout" under South Jordan City municipal code.

Among accidents to make headlines was a fiery March 23 crash in California that involved its "Autopilot" feature. The driver's family has retain legal counsel and is contemplating a lawsuit based on previous complaints made by the driver about the Autopilot system's inability to navigate that specific piece of highway. The probe marked the federal agency's fourth active investigation into the electric auto maker's vehicles.

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