A crash involving a Tesla and a student who just got out of a school bus is being investigated by authorities, report says

  • A Tesla may have been using assisted driving technology when it struck a student, per The AP.
  • The 17-year-old had exited a school bus in Halifax County, North Carolina on March 15.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation, per The AP.

A crash involving a Tesla that struck a student who had just got out of a school bus and may have been using assisted driving technology is being investigated by authorities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the March 15 crash in Halifax County, North Carolina, that left 17-year-old student Tillam Mitchell with serious injuries, The Associated Press reported.

A 51-year-old man was driving a 2022 Tesla Model Y, which failed to stop despite the bus displaying its warning signals. The State Highway Patrol initially described it as a case of distracted driving. 

Mitchell was crossing the street to his house when he was struck by the car. The driver was charged with reckless driving.

Mitchell had major surgery the following day, his school principal Melissa Richardson told WRAL News. He was listed in good condition two days later, the news agency reported.

The NHTSA’s decision to investigate the crash indicated that some form of self-assisted driving may have been in operation at the time, according to The AP. 

Tesla’s Autopilot function is intended for use on highways, while Full Self-Driving mode can operate in urban settings and allows the vehicle to change lanes, recognize stop signs and traffic lights, as well as park.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously said that the software would eventually be able to operate entirely on its own and be safer than human drivers. He’s argued that fully self-driving cars represent Tesla’s future.

The NHTSA is investigating several instances of Teslas using Autopilot and colliding with stationary emergency vehicles at the scene of accidents. 

In March, the agency opened an investigation into a February crash involving a Tesla Model S that killed the driver and injured a passenger in Contra Costa County, California.

The NHTSA, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from The AP Friday.

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