Utah Tesla driver had hands off wheel before crash

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Data recovered from a Tesla that was driven at 60 miles per hour into a Unified Fire Authority vehicle stopped at an intersection last Friday confirms the driver had engaged the vehicle's autopilot system, police said Wednesday.

In this Friday, May 11, 2018, 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. According to the summary released by police, the driver pressed on the brake herself "fractions of a second prior to the crash" and the vehicle had not slowed down from the speed she had set for cruise control.

"Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds", Tesla's report, as released by South Jordan Police Department, said.

Earlier Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was sending investigators to Utah and would "take appropriate action based on its review'". Both drivers of the two vehicles sustained minor injuries, based on the police statement.

"When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times", a Tesla spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

The driver, who suffered a broken foot in the accident, has not been identified.

"Consistent with NHTSA's oversight and authority over the safety of all motor vehicles and equipment, the agency has launched its special crash investigations team to gather information on the South Jordon [sic], Utah, crash".

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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.

According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the vehicle claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone. On two such occasions, the driver had her hands off the wheel for more than one minute each time and her hands came back on only after a visual alert, the Tesla report said. She was issued a traffic infraction for failing to keep proper lookout.

Tesla said that the driver did not heed repeated warnings from the auto to resume control of the vehicle.

Furthermore, it's now the fourth investigation into a crash involving a Tesla vehicle in just 2 months, which might be a record. Witnesses told police the driver of the Tesla did not brake or make any attempt to avoid the collision.

Swiss prosecutors said this week that they were looking into the fatal crash of a Tesla in southern Switzerland.

The NTSB is investigating the other three Tesla incidents being looked at by NHTSA, as well as an August 2017 Tesla battery fire in California, in which an owner ran the vehicle into his garage.

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