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Tesla and NTSB Clash Over Fatal Crash Investigation

As the back-and-forth over who or what was at fault in the recent fatal crash of a Tesla Model X vehicle in Mountain View continues, the electric carmaker has said it has withdrawn from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the matter. But the federal agency said it had took the “rare” action of ousting Tesla from the probe.

Late Wednesday, Tesla said in a statement it would no longer take part in the NTSB probe because the investigation would require Tesla to not divulge information about its Autopilot feature to the public. Autopilot is a technology in Tesla cars that allows a vehicle to perform some functions such as lane changes and parking on its own.

A Tesla spokesperson said in a statement that the NTSB requirement to not divulge information on Autopilot “fundamentally affects public safety negatively (and) we believe in transparency, so an agreement that prevents public release of information for over a year is unacceptable.”

The safety board — which earlier this month said it was not happy Tesla had released information on the crash — on Thursday disputed Tesla’s claim that it withdrew from the investigation. The agency said it had removed the firm as a party to the probe. Tesla had earlier accepted “party status” in the investigation, which allows the parties to share investigative information in the early stages of an accident probe, the agency said.

“Tesla violated the party agreement by releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB,” the agency said in a statement.

“Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public.”

Agency chairman Robert Sumwalt said he had called Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday night to tell…

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