DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are turning up the heat on Tesla, announcing investigations into steering wheels coming off some SUVs and a fatal crash involving a Tesla suspected of using an automated driving system when it ran into a parked firetruck in California.
NHTSA has become more aggressive in pursuing safety problems with Teslas in the past year, announcing multiple recalls and investigations.
The driver of the 2014 Tesla Model S was killed in the crash and a passenger critically injured.
Earlier Wednesday, the agency posted documents revealing an investigation of steering wheels that can detach from the steering column on as many as 120,000 Model Y SUVs.
A friction fit held the steering wheels on, but they separated when force was exerted as the SUVs were driven.
The U.S. Justice Department also has asked Tesla for documents from Tesla about “Full Self-Driving” and Autopilot.
NHTSA has sent investigators to 35 Tesla crashes in which automated systems are suspected of being used. »