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One Tesla Burst Into Flames. The Other, Sheared Off.

One possible issue is the cars' Autopilot driving system
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2019 12:37 PM CST

(Newser) – A federal agency with the power to seek recalls and issue fines is investigating two fatal Tesla crashes in Florida over the past week, Reuters reports. The Friday crash in Delray Beach involved a 2018 Model 3 that had its roof cut off when it passed under a tractor-trailer; the crash last Sunday in Davie saw a Model S go up in flames, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which regulates auto safety, is looking at both crash sites, while the National Transportation Safety Board, which makes safety recommendations, is at the Friday site.

At issue are Tesla's Autopilot semiautonomous driving system and its car batteries. The driving software—which the company says can enable Teslas to "automatically change lanes on most highways to overtake other cars"—may have played a role in earlier accidents. And Tesla batteries have reportedly burst into flames after crashes, sometimes more than once. Tesla made no comment Saturday, but warns that Autopilot "should not be used on highways that have very sharp turns or lane markings that are absent, faded, or ambiguous." (Tesla CEO Elon Musk got in hot water over yet another tweet.)

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