- On March 23, 2018, Walter Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X P100D veered out of its lane and into a center divider. He died from his injuries.
- National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) documents show that Huang had complained about the feature veering out of its lane at that location on multiple occasions.
- Data from his phone indicates that a mobile game was active during his drive and that his hands were not on the wheel during the six seconds ahead of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a cache of documents related to the crash of a Tesla Model X that occurred in March 2018 in Mountain View, California, and resulted in the death of the driver, Walter Huang. Huang was killed when his vehicle veered into a concrete divider along U.S. 101 at the state Route 85 left-hand carpool lane off-ramp. Data shows that at the time, Tesla’s Autopilot feature was enabled.
The documents were released to the public by the NTSB ahead of a February 25 board meeting at which the agency will deliberate over the cause of the crash. It’s noted that Huang had complained about the vehicle veering out of its lane at this same spot in the past, and vehicle data shows that the vehicle had veered left toward the divider on occasions before the accident. According to vehicle data, the driver would adjust the vehicle’s heading by steering it back into the left lane.
Ahead of the crash, the Model X entered the area that separates the main road and the off-ramp known as the “gore.” The NTSB noted that the paint that separated the gore area from U.S. 101 was faded and in some instances “partially obliterated.” Meanwhile, the paint that separated the off-ramp from the gore area was in much better shape.
Vehicle data also indicates that Huang’s hands were not on the wheel six seconds prior to the collision in which the Model X struck the divider at approximately 70 miles per hour. On two occasions during the final Autopilot session ahead of the crash, the vehicle alerted the driver visually and once with an auditory alert to place his hands back on the wheel.
Data pulled from Huang’s iPhone also show that a mobile game was active on the phone during the drive. The information obtained could not determine if Huang was interacting with the game at the time of the crash.
When the vehicle veered into the gore area, there is no evidence that Huang used braking or evasive steering ahead of the collision. The Model X collided with an earlier damaged crash cushion that potentially could have absorbed some of the impact of the vehicle.
Huang’s family is suing Tesla for wrongful death and negligence.