The National Transportation Safety Board released this image of a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor electric car that was involved in a fatal accident near Miami that killed two people on Sept. 13, 2021.

WaPo: Tesla Under Scrutiny for High Volume of Auto Crashes Related to Autopilot

Since 2019, Tesla vehicles have been involved in 736 crashes when the autopilot feature failed to “see” obstacles or slow down in time to keep from hitting them. Of those, 17 involved fatalities of the driver or others.

The most recent report came from a WaPo analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. In June 2022 the data only showed three deaths related to the autopilot technology. In a matter of months, the number of deaths surged to 17, with five serious injuries.

A story on describes one such accident: a 17-year-old boy crossing the street after departing from a school bus was struck by a Tesla Model Y traveling 45 miles per hour. He survived but still has trouble walking and his head injuries caused him memory issues.

“Tesla’s 17 fatal crashes reveal distinct patterns, The Post found: Four involved a motorcycle. Another involved an emergency vehicle. Meanwhile, some of Musk’s decisions — such as widely expanding the availability of the features and stripping the vehicles of radar sensors — appear to have contributed to the reported uptick in incidents, according to experts who spoke with The Post.”

The rise in fatalities greatly concerns former NHTSA senior safety adviser Missy Cummings, a professor at George Mason University’s College of Engineering and Computing.

“Tesla is having more severe — and fatal — crashes than people in a normal data set,” she said in response to the figures analyzed by The Post. One likely cause, she said, is the expanded rollout over the past year and a half of Full Self-Driving, which brings driver assistance to city and residential streets. “The fact that … anybody and everybody can have it. … Is it reasonable to expect that might be leading to increased accident rates? Sure, absolutely.”

The NHTSA commented that the technology wasn’t necessarily the cause of the crashes and that the human drivers should have been in control and engaged in driving. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had no comment.