Tesla defends delay in reporting autopilot crash

As Elon Musk's company reveals it took nine days to inform the US government of the fatality...

Tesla Motors has defended its decision not to publicly announce a fatality involving one of its self-driving cars until a stock offering took place and news of its plan to acquire SolarCity broke.

The company says it learned about the accident which claimed the life of 40-year-old Joshua Brown in Florida "shortly" after the May 7th crash, and disclosed it to the US government on May 16th.

On June 30th, the country's National Highway traffic Safety Administration announced a probe into the incident.

When questioned as to why it waited until after a share sale and announcing a bid to buy rooftop solar power company SolarCity, Tesla made the following statement:

"Tesla does not find it necessary, nor does any automaker, to share the details of every accident that occur in a Tesla vehicle.

"More than a million people die globally every year in car accidents, but automakers do not disclose each of these accidents to investors, let alone before those investigations are complete and without regard to what the results of those investigations end up being."

Tesla raised over $1.4 billion from a May 18th to 19th stock offering but did not make the accident public until the federal investigation was announced a week ago.

Peter Henning, a law professor at Detroit's Wayne State University, told Reuters:

"The materiality issue is not about the death itself, but more about the circumstances of the crash and calling into question a technology that's important to Tesla's future.

"Those are issues that investors want to know, so you could make a reasonable argument that it crossed the (materiality) line. When it's that close, the (US) Securities and Exchange Commission expects disclosure."

Over the weekend, Tesla also confirmed that it had missed its delivery and production goals for the second quarter in a row.