NHTSA will investigate Tesla collision blamed on Full Self-Driving beta

The complaint raises questions about the safety of public beta testing.

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: People look at a Tesla Model Y electric vehicle on a showroom floor at the Miami Design District on October 21, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Tesla reported $1.6 billion in profits for the months of July, August, and September, a record for them.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: People look at a Tesla Model Y electric vehicle on a showroom floor at the Miami Design District on October 21, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Tesla reported $1.6 billion in profits for the months of July, August, and September, a record for them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Are you uncomfortable with the idea of Tesla letting owners test Full Self-Driving betas on public streets? You're not the only one. Reuters reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a driver's complaint that the FSD beta led to a November 3rd collision in Brea, California. The owner alleged that his Model Y entered the wrong lane, leading to impact with another car and serious damage on the left side.

The EV offered an alert partway through the turn, according to the driver. However, the FSD software supposedly wouldn't let the driver regain control, forcing the car into the wrong lane. Tesla hasn't commented on the incident and is believed to have disbanded its PR team. The automaker has usually limited the beta to volunteer drivers with high safety scores and warned that testers must be ready to take over on short notice.

The investigation won't necessarily conclude that FSD was responsible for the collision, or lead to major action against Tesla. It does, however, represent the latest in a growing number of run-ins between Tesla and regulators. The NHTSA launched a probe into Autopilot this August following a string of emergency vehicle crashes, and it expressed concern in October that Tesla was using a beta "on public roads." Officials aren't thrilled that Tesla is testing in real traffic, and the investigation might support their case.

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