Fatal Tesla Model 3 Crash in Florida Prompts Investigations by Federal Agencies

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A man driving a Tesla Model 3 in Delray Beach, Florida was killed in a collision with another vehicle early Friday that has prompted investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NTSB tweeted late Friday that it was sending a three-person team to investigate the incident, and that it will work together with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office on the probe. The NHTSA told Reuters that it too had dispatched an investigative team to look into the incident. Both agencies are currently looking into collisions involving Tesla’s self-driving mode.

A preliminary police report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office obtained by Electrek said the collision occurred at an intersection off Florida State Road 7 near Pero Family Farms. The 2018 Tesla Model 3 was reportedly headed southbound at the time that a tractor-trailer, pulling out of a driveway leading to Pero Family Farms after stopping at a stop sign, attempted to turn left onto the highway headed northbound.


At that time the tractor-trailer entered the path of the Tesla, and the latter hit the driver’s side of the trailer, “resulting in the roof being sheared off as it passed underneath the trailer,” the report said. The 50-year-old Tesla driver died on the scene, per Reuters. It is not clear whether the Tesla’s Autopilot mode was active at the time of the collision.


Per the police report, the Tesla Model 3 continued for nearly a third of a mile before coming to a complete stop. As several reports have noted, the incident bears remarkable similarities to another fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S that occurred in Florida in 2016.

During that incident, the Tesla struck a tractor-semitrailer in such a way that its roof was sheared off. The vehicle reportedly continued on through a “drainage culvert and two wire fences,” per an NTSB report on the incident, before hitting a utility pole and finally coming to a stop. The report said Autopilot systems were enabled at the time of the crash.


Tesla told Electrek that it was “deeply saddened to hear about this incident,” adding that it was contacting the authorities to cooperate in their investigation. We’ve reached out to Tesla for more information and will update this report if we hear back.