With 3 Dead, US Investigates Ford's Partially Automated Cars

Blue Cruise systems were involved in 2 separate crashes, and NHTSA is looking into it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 29, 2024 1:09 PM CDT
With 3 Dead, US Investigates Ford's Partially Automated Cars
The Ford logo is seen on the grill of a Ford Explorer on display at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh, on Feb. 15, 2024. Two fatal crashes involving Ford’s Blue Cruise partially automated driving system have drawn the attention of US auto safety regulators.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Two fatal crashes involving Ford's Blue Cruise partially automated driving system are now subjects of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation of the crashes, both involving Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles on freeways in nighttime lighting conditions, the agency said Monday. The agency's initial investigation of the crashes, which killed three people, determined that Blue Cruise was in use just before the collisions. The agency says the investigation will evaluate how Blue Cruise performs driving tasks as well as its camera based driver monitoring system. Ford said Monday it is working with NHTSA to support the investigation, reports the AP. The National Transportation Safety Board, which already is investigating a Feb. 24 San Antonio crash, determined in a preliminary report that it was operating on Blue Cruise.

  • The first crash: The Texas crash occurred on Interstate 10 in San Antonio. The NTSB report says the Mach E struck the rear of a 1999 Honda CR-V that was stopped in the middle of three lanes around 9:50pm. The 56-year-old driver of the CR-V was killed. Another driver who was able to avoid the CR-V told investigators that neither its tail nor hazard lights were working.
  • The second: The other crash involving a Mach E killed two people around 3:20am on March 3 on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania State Police said that a Mach E was in the left lane when it struck a stationary Hyundai Elantra that earlier had collided with a Toyota Prius. The driver of the Prius, who was outside the vehicle, also was struck, as was a person from the Hyundai who was hit. Both victims, males ages 21 and 20, were pronounced dead at the scene. A criminal investigation is underway and a charge of homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence is possible against the 23-year-old woman driving the Mach E.
  • About the Blue Cruise: Ford's system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel while it handles steering, braking, and acceleration on highways. Ford says the system isn't fully autonomous and it monitors drivers to make sure they pay attention to the road.
(More Ford Blue Cruise stories.)

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