Tesla Probed By SEC Over Fatal Autopilot Crash

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Nearly two weeks after Tesla announced the first fatal crash in one of the company’s electric vehicles while operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode, federal regulators are reportedly investigating whether the carmaker was forthright with offering information about the crash to investors. 

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla breached securities laws by failing to make investors aware of the deadly collision.

The May 7 incident occurred on a divided highway, where the 2015 Model S collided with a tractor-trailer that was making a left turn across the Tesla driver’s lane.

Tesla said in a blog post after the crash that it had notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the incident and conducted an investigation into whether or not the Autopilot feature was engaged. NHTSA subsequently opened its own investigation into the Autopilot feature and its role in the crash.

However, the source says that the company did not alert investors of the crash in a securities filing, the source says.

The SEC is now scrutinizing whether Tesla should have disclosed the crash as a “material” event, or a development a reasonable investor would consider important.

A spokesperson for Tesla pointed the WSJ to a blog post that suggests the crash didn’t require disclosure to investors.

“Tesla has not received any communication from the SEC regarding this issue,” the company spokeswoman said. “Our blog post last week provided the relevant information about this issue.”

The SEC declined to comment on the matter.

SEC Investigating Tesla for Possible Securities-Law Breach [The Wall Street Journal]

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