Tags: tesla | sec | probe | undisclosed | autopilot | crash

Tesla SEC Probe Started Into Undisclosed Autopilot Crash

Image: Tesla SEC Probe Started Into Undisclosed Autopilot Crash

Fatal Tesla crash victim previously posted a video boasting of autopilot feature. (YouTube/Joshua Brown)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 11:56 AM

Tesla Motors has been hit by an SEC investigation into whether the company breached securities laws by not disclosing to investors a deadly crash involving one of its electric cars while the driver was reportedly using its autopilot technology, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know if Tesla should have included the accident as a "material" event or "a development a reasonable investor would have consider important," a person familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The source said the Tesla investigation is in the early stages and may not lead to an enforcement action.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last month into the May 7 accident that killed a Tesla motorist in Williston, Florida, according to CNN Money.

"What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S," Tesla's blog said on June 30. "Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied."

"The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S."

Tesla told auto-safety regulators of the incident May 16 after learning about it and started its own investigation, according to the Journal. The company's investigation at the time had not determined yet if the vehicle was in its Autopilot mode.

The Journal said Tesla failed to disclose the accident in securities documents on May 18 when the company planned to sell $2 billion in stock, including 2.8 million shares sold by Elon Musk, the company's chief executive.

University of Colorado law professor Erik Gerding told the Journal that it was likely a "tough judgment call" for Tesla executives not to include the accident.

"The conservative approach is just to disclose it," Gerding told the Journal.

Christopher O'Neil, a spokesman for the NHTSA told Reuters on Tuesday that the agency said it was sending a five-person team to Florida later this week to investigate the May crash. The agency makes recommendations to regulators and companies about transportation-related safety issues.

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Tesla Motors has been hit by an SEC investigation into whether the company breached securities laws by not disclosing to investors a deadly crash involving one of its electric cars while the driver was reportedly using its autopilot technology.
tesla, sec, probe, undisclosed, autopilot, crash
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Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 11:56 AM
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