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Tesla Vindicated in 2021 Fiery Crash that Killed 2 in Texas

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Tesla Vindicated in 2021 Fiery Crash that Killed 2 in Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board investigators appear to have solved the mystery of why no one was found behind the wheel of a Tesla that crashed in Texas two years ago, killing two men.

According to an investigation report released Wednesday on the fiery April 17, 2021 crash in the Houston suburb of Spring, the 59-year-old Tesla driver apparently moved to the back seat after slamming into the car’s front air bag and deforming the steering wheel.

Despite the fact that the crash raised concerns about whether the car was using Tesla’s “Autopilot” partially automated driving system, the NTSB determined that the system could not have been used on the street where the crash occurred due to a lack of lane lines. According to the report, testing revealed that the car’s “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” system could have been used, though it would only work up to the maximum speed on the suburban road, 30 mph (50 kilometres per hour).

The 2019 Tesla reached 67 mph (108 km/h) two seconds before colliding with the second of two trees at 57 mph (92 km/h) and being consumed by flames as the lithium-ion battery caught fire.

The Tesla’s event data recorder revealed that the accelerator moved “consistent with driver activity” in the five seconds preceding the crash, and that the driver’s seat belt was connected at the time of the crash.

“Although the driver’s seat was discovered vacant and the driver was discovered in the left rear seat, the available evidence suggests that the driver was seated in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash and moved into the rear seat postcrash,” according to the report.

The crash was caused by excessive speed and a failure to control the vehicle due to alcohol impairment, according to the agency. According to the report, testing by a Federal Aviation Administration lab revealed that the driver’s blood-alcohol level was 0.151 grams per deciliter, nearly twice the Texas legal limit of 0.08. According to the report, two over-the-counter sedating antihistamine medications were also found in the driver’s blood.

The driver died as a result of blunt force trauma, burns, and smoke inhalation, according to autopsies. According to the report, the 69-year-old male passenger died from blunt force trauma to the torso and extremities, as well as burns.

According to the agency, security video from the driver’s home showed the driver and passenger getting into the front seats before driving away. The car travelled approximately 550 feet (170 meters) before leaving the road on a curve, colliding with a storm sewer inlet and raised manhole, sideswiping one tree before colliding with another, according to the agency.

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