Highway Barrier Not Repaired Before Fatal Crash

Sept. 9, 2019
California state transportation officials did not repair a highway safety device damaged in a high-speed crash 11 days before a fatal collision in March 2018.

Sept. 10, 2019—California transportation officials did not repair a highway safety barrier that was damaged in a high-speed crash, reported Reuters. The crash happened 11 days before a fatal crash in March 2018 involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode. 

In the first crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the driver of a 2010 Toyota Prius was traveling in excess of 75 miles per hour when the car struck a crash attenuator, which is designed to absorb crash forces before a vehicle hits a concrete median barrier. The driver survived with no major injuries.

In the second crash 11 days later, the driver of a 2017 Tesla Model X was going 71 mph (114 kph) when he struck the same attenuator on US-101 in Mountain View, California. The front of the Tesla separated from the rear and then collided with two other vehicles. The crash killed the driver of the Tesla, 38-year-old Apple engineer Walter Huang.

The report said that after the March 11 crash the California Highway Patrol did not notify the California Department of Transportation of the damage to the barrier as required.

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