US NTSB probes driver assistance system use in fatal Ford crash

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Friday it was investigating the use of an advanced driver assistance system in a Ford Mustang Mach-E that was involved in a Feb. 24 fatal crash in San Antonio, Texas.

The NTSB said preliminary information indicated the Ford struck the rear of a Honda CR-V that was stationary in a traffic lane on Interstate Highway 10. A San Antonio police report said the Ford had “partial automation” engaged at the time of the crash.

The police report said the driver of the Honda CR-V, 56-year-old Jeffrey Allen Johnson of Austin, was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

Ford offers BlueCruise, an advanced hands-free driving system that operates on 97% of U.S. and Canadian highways with no intersections or traffic signals.

The NTSB said it was investigating the crash “due to its continued interest in advanced driver assistance systems and how vehicle operators interact with these technologies.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires automakers to report all fatal crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems.

A Ford spokesperson said on Friday that the automaker “reported this incident to NHTSA as soon as we were made aware, and we are actively researching all available information. Safety is a top priority for all of us at Ford, and we will collaborate fully with any resulting investigation.”

The NTSB said investigators would “examine the wreckage and collect information about the accident site and sequence of events leading to the collision.”

The NTSB has opened several investigations in recent years into advanced driver assistance systems, opens new tab, including Tesla’s Autopilot.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Ismail Shakil, editing by David Ljunggren and Rosalba O’Brien