Tesla Crash In Texas Leads To 2 Deaths And Fire That Took 4 Hours To Extinguish

A Tesla car with no one in the driver's seat reportedly crashed into a tree in Texas and burst into flames this weekend. 

What Happened: On Saturday, a Tesla Inc TSLA Model S crashed into a tree in Woodlands, Texas. No one was driving the vehicle, and two people were killed, Houston TV station KPRC reported.

Harris County deputies said the vehicle was traveling at high speed, failed to take a turn at a cul-de-sac, ran off the road and hit the tree.

It was unclear whether the car was using Tesla's Level 2 self-driving program. There was one person in the passenger seat of the front of the car and another person in a rear passenger seat. 

According to KHOU in Houston, firefighters had to use 30,000 gallons of water over four hours to put out the fire, as the Tesla's battery kept reigniting. 

In a tweet, a KHOU reporter also quoted investigators saying there was no one in the driving seat driving the car at the time of the incident. 

Why It Matters: Tesla has been drawing increasing attention over its vehicle safety.

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automobile safety agency in the United States, said it was looking into a "violent crash that occurred on March 11 in Detroit involving a Tesla and a tractor-trailer."

The agency has in recent years formed Special Crash Investigation teams to look into Tesla crashes related to the vehicle's Autopilot system. 

Tesla reports one accident for every 3.7 million miles driven while Autopilot is engaged. Over the past two years, the number of miles driven per accident, with the Autopilot on, has increased 18%. In comparison, the NHTSA reports one accident for about 475,000 miles driven for all U.S. vehicles.

Posted In: NewsGeneralNational Highway Traffic Safety Administrationvehicle safety