The crashes happened on June 6, June 7, and July 7, in Florida and California
The NHTSA is investigating to determine if Autopilot was activated at the time of the crashes
These three accidents caused four fatalities
The first of those three accidents took place in Florida on June 6, when a 2015 Tesla Model S occupied by a 67-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer that was stopped in a rest area off a highway exit. Both passengers in the electric sedan died at the scene.
The second crash happened only a day later, near Kearny Mesa in California. A 2018 Tesla Model 3 ran a red light and then went airborne after hitting a dip in the road before hitting a pedestrian. The 40-year-old woman later died of her injuries.
The driver of this Model 3 was found to be intoxicated with both alcohol and drugs. The man admitted to using solvent-based drugs behind the wheel, which would normally make for an open and shut case.
What makes this case different is that there are reasons to believe the man could have activated Autopilot in order to have the car drive itself while he was under the influence.
The third accident took place only yesterday when a Tesla Model Y hit a man on a motorcycle who was riding in the HOV lane of the 91 Freeway, close to Corona, California. The rider was pronounced dead at the scene but the driver of the Tesla was not arrested since they passed a sobriety test.
The local police department says they believe the driver might have been distracted after engaging Autopilot on the highway, thus failing to see the rider.
The NHTSA will look into all three of these incidents and if it finds that the driver assistance system was indeed activated at the time of the collision, it will add these crashes to its probe into Autopilot.