Monday 19 April 2021 5:27 pm

Tesla share price slides following fatal car crash

Two people have died after a crash involving a Tesla in Texas, with authorities saying there was no-one in the driver’s seat.

A Harris County constable told television stations in Houston that there was a person in the front passenger seat and another in a rear passenger seat after the crash in the Houston suburb of Spring.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said authorities are certain that no-one was driving the car at the time of the crash.

“They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no-one driving that vehicle,” Constable Herman told local TV network KHOU-TV.

It is not clear if the Tesla’s driver-assist system was being used.

Tesla’s share price fell more than three per cent by the early evening. The stock was also under pressure due to a sharp drop in bitcoin over the weekend.

Deputies said the car was traveling fast and failed to navigate a turn before running off the road, hitting a tree, and bursting into flames on Saturday night.

The identity of the victims had not been released by Sunday afternoon. KHOU reported that one was 69 and the other was 59.

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Autopilot function

Federal traffic safety officials are investigating several Tesla crashes in which the vehicle’s Autopilot function may have been used, including crashes in which cars drove under tractor trailers.

The company warns customers that its driver-assist system, called Autopilot, is not an autonomous-driving program, and that they must pay attention and be ready to take control of the vehicle.

However, the National Transportation Safety Board said last year the design of the system allows drivers to avoid paying attention and fails to limit where Autopilot can be used.