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U.S. safety agency opens probe of Tesla fatal crash in California

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·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo on a Model S is photographed inside of a Tesla dealership in New York
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) said on Wednesday it is opening a safety probe into a fatal May 5 Tesla crash in California amid growing concerns about the automaker's driver assistance systems.

A Tesla crashed into an overturned truck on a highway near Fontana, California, killing the Tesla's driver and injuring the truck driver and a motorist who had stopped to help him, the California Highway Patrol said.

The highway patrol report did not say whether the Tesla was operating on Autopilot, its semi-autonomous driving system, when the crash occurred. The Mack truck had crashed and overturned five minutes earlier, blocking two lanes of the highway, the report said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NHTSA said it previously had opened 28 special investigations into Tesla crashes, with 24 pending.

Police in Texas last month said they believed an April 17 fatal crash near Houston occurred with no one in the driver's seat. A preliminary government report Monday said footage from the owner’s home security cameras showed the owner entering the driver’s seat and the passenger entering the front passenger seat.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)