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Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tesla's late to deliver the one thing it should probably deliver on time

When the feds ask you for information about a fatal accident, it doesn't look good if you miss that deadline.

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This was the first fatal accident where Autopilot was engaged, so everybody will be paying attention to the outcome.


Being late isn't the end of the world unless all eyes are on you to deliver. When asked to furnish information related to a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, Tesla missed that deadline and asked for a one-week extension, despite having a couple months to get this info together.

Back in July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) submitted a letter to Tesla, requesting a great deal of information about both Autopilot and its vehicles, including its awareness of potential defects and any changes that could have contributed to the accident. That information was due to the feds on August 26, a date that Tesla missed.

The crash in question happened back in June, when a large white truck turned in front of a Tesla Model S, which had Autopilot engaged at the time. The Tesla driver died in the accident. A subsequent blog post from Tesla claimed that Autopilot could not recognize a large white surface against a bright sky, so the brakes were not applied.

Tesla now has until Friday to give the NHTSA that information. In its defense, the automaker told Business Insider that it did compile information for the request, but had to ask for an extension when the request was modified. Once the NHTSA has that information, the investigation will continue, but there's no firm date as to when everything will be wrapped up.

It's the first fatal crash involving an activated Autopilot system, so all eyes are on both Tesla and the feds to see what comes of it. Along with the federal investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol has an open homicide investigation, and it's slated to wrap up this week, but no additional information on that second investigation will be made public for at least a week or two.