National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released data on the accidents caused by autonomous cars. It reveals that Tesla vehicles amounted to almost 70% of the total crashes which have level 2 driver assist in the US. However, it is to be noted that most automakers use their autonomous technology for highways or other specified roads. But Tesla allows its customers to use it on regular local roads for daily commute.
So many factors should be considered here as a number of vehicles only doesn’t indicate anything. NHTSA has been focused on the research to determine if the autonomous feature of cars is actually improving and reducing accidents. NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff stated during a media event, “I would advise caution before attempting to draw conclusions based only on the data that we’re releasing. In fact, the data alone may raise more questions than they answer,”
As per the NHTSA’s report, a total of 392 crashes were reported by 11 automakers and one supplier from June 2021 to May 15, 2022. Among this number, Tesla vehicles accounted for 273 accidents. Honda was a distant second with 90 reported accidents, while Subaru had 10. Ford reported five accidents, Toyota reported four, and BMW reported three. General Motors reported two accidents.
Tesla does have many more vehicles with partly automated systems operating on U.S. roads than most other automakers do — roughly 830,000, dating to the 2014 model year. And it collects real-time data online from vehicles, so it has a much faster reporting system. Other automakers, by contrast, must wait for reports to arrive from the field and sometimes don’t learn about crashes for months.
Overall, the NHTSA’s data revealed that crashes involving driver-assist systems have resulted in at least six fatalities and five serious injuries. For context, the NHTSA has estimated that 42,915 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2021.
While Tesla leads the pack in accidents involving Level 2 driver-assist systems, the company also deploys the largest fleet of vehicles that offer driver-assist technologies. According to the Associated Press, Tesla has more vehicles with partially automated systems operating on American roads than other automakers, with an estimated fleet of 830,000 vehicles. In comparison, GM has reportedly sold just about 34,000 vehicles with Super Cruise since 2017. With this in mind, it is then unsurprising to see that there are more reported accidents involving Tesla Autopilot compared to other Level 2 systems from other carmakers. Tesla is known to have the highest safety features. Also, the current autonomous software is yet to be re-evaluated for the level that is being classified.