Broward County

NHTSA investigating fatal Tesla crashes in Davie, Delray Beach, report says

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: A view of the interior of a Tesla Model X at a Tesla showroom on March 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Tesla announced plans to shutter almost all of their retail showrooms and shift focus to online sales. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: A view of the interior of a Tesla Model X at a Tesla showroom on March 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Tesla announced plans to shutter almost all of their retail showrooms and shift focus to online sales. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two fatal Tesla crashes that occurred within a week of each other in South Florida.

Reuters reported Saturday that the federal agency would be probing the crashes in Davie on Feb. 24 and in Delray Beach on Friday. The NHTSA, which regulates the safety of motor vehicles and has the ability to issue recalls, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal investigative agency that determines probable cause of transportation accidents, announced Friday they would be investigating Friday’s crash.

The Feb. 24 crash, which occured along Flamingo Road in Davie, involved a 2016 Tesla Model S. Omar Awan, 48, was burned beyond recognition in the fiery crash, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The vehicle left the roadway for unknown reasons, and struck a a tree, causing it to catch fire.

Friday’s crash killed 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner, who had been driving a 2018 Tesla 3 in suburban Delray Beach, according to WPTV. The vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer.

The NTSB said on Twitter Friday that it would send a team of investigators to the site of the crash on State Road 7 near Atlantic Avenue. NHTSA is sending a field team to assess the scene.

“In cooperation with the Palm Beach sheriff’s office, the NTSB is sending a team of three to conduct a safety investigation of the commercial motor vehicle and Tesla crash in Delray Beach, FL.,” the agency said.

NHTSA and NTSB are investigated several Tesla crashes that occurred since 2017, Reuters reports. Two focal points in their investigations, the news service reports, are the flammability of the vehicles’ batteries and Tesla’s driver-assistance Autopilot feature.

The Sun Sentinel reported that the Tesla Model S, involved in the Davie crash, caught fire multiple times after it was towed.

Martin Vassolo covers the politics and government of Miami Beach for the Miami Herald. He began working for the Herald in January 2018 after attending the University of Florida, where he served as the editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator. Previously, he was a general assignment reporter on the Herald’s metro desk and a political reporting intern.
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