WASHINGTON — A new report shows that nearly 400 crashes in the United States involved cars that used some form of driver-assistance technology.
The report released Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was the first time that the agency has published data since enacting a 2021 order that required all crashes on public roads involving cars with self-driving technology to be reported.
NHTSA said that it received 392 reports of crashes from July 2021 to May 15, 2022, and identified Tesla vehicles as being involved in 273 of them. There were 90 crashes reported involving Honda vehicles, as well as 10 Subarus.
According to the report, there were six deaths and five serious injuries reported in the crashes.
“The data released today are part of our commitment to transparency, accountability, and public safety,” Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s administrator, said in a statement. “New vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so; collecting this data is an important step in that effort.”
The data does include important information about the vehicles involved, like the number of total similar models not on the road, or the number of miles traveled, making it difficult to fairly compare vehicles’ safety, CNN reported.
“I would advise caution before attempting to draw conclusions based only on the data we’re releasing. In fact, the data alone may raise more questions than they answer,” Cliff told CNN.
According to the New York Times, there are approximately 830,000 Tesla vehicles in the United States equipped with some level of driver-assistance technology, which could offer an explanation as to why their vehicles accounted for most of the reported crashes.
A separate report from NHTSA focused on fully autonomous driving systems. NHTSA received 130 crash reports of those vehicles, with Waymo vehicles involved in 62, Transdev in 34, and Cruise in 23. Of those crashes, 90 were in California.
Waymo runs a fleet of driverless taxis in Arizona, The New York Times reported, while Cruise is owned by General Motors, which has begun offering driverless taxi rides in San Francisco.
In an emailed statement, Cruise said, “It is unacceptable that tens of thousands of Americans die every year in motor vehicle crashes –– and that this is getting worse, not better. Cruise has logged millions of miles in one of the most complex urban driving environments because saving lives is our chief aim and the reason for our existence. We look forward to continuing to work with NHTSA to accomplish this shared mission.”
Waymo said in a statement, “We see value in having nationally standardized and uniform crash reporting during this early stage of the development and deployment of autonomous driving technology, and there’s public benefit in NHTSA sharing its findings. We also believe any reporting requirements should be harmonized across all U.S. jurisdictions to limit confusion and potentially enable more meaningful comparisons, and NHTSA’s effort is a step toward achieving that goal.”
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
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