posted videos on YouTube showing that the camera sometimes fails to notice when drivers look away from the road and that it can be fooled if they cover the lens. When the camera notices a Tesla driver looking away from the road, it sounds a warning chime but does not turn Autopilot off.

G.M. and Ford systems use infrared cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes. If drivers look away for more than two or three seconds, warnings remind them to look straight ahead. If drivers fail to comply, the G.M. and Ford systems will shut off and tell drivers to take control of the car.

Ms. Benavides emigrated from Cuba in 2016 and lived with her mother in Miami. She worked at a Walgreens pharmacy and a clothing store while attending community college. An older sister, Neima, 34, who is executor of the estate, said Naibel had been working to improve her English in hopes of getting a college degree.

“She was always laughing and making people laugh,” Neima Benavides said. “Her favorite thing was to go to the beach. She would go almost every day and hang out with friends or just sit by herself and read.”

Neima Benavides said she hoped the lawsuit would prod Tesla into making Autopilot safer. “Maybe something can change so other people don’t have to go through this.”

Ms. Benavides had just started dating Mr. Angulo when they went fishing on Key Largo. That afternoon, she sent her sister a text message indicating she was having a good time. At 9 p.m., Ms. Benavides called her mother from Mr. Angulo’s phone to say she was on the way home. She had lost her phone that day.

On the 911 call, Mr. McGee reported that a man was on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. Several times Mr. McGee said, “Oh, my God,” and shouted “Help!” When an emergency operator asked if the man was the only injured person, Mr. McGee replied, “Yes, he’s the only passenger.”

Mr. Angulo was airlifted to a hospital. He later told investigators that he had no recollection of the accident or why they had stopped at the intersection.

An emergency medical technician spotted a woman’s sandal under the Tahoe and called on others to start searching the area for another victim. “Please tell me no,” Mr. McGee can be heard saying in the police video. “Please tell me no.”

Ms. Benavides’s body was found about 25 yards away.

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Odometer Rollbacks: A Hard-to-Spot Nuisance for Car Shoppers

A web search for “vehicle mileage correction” revealed a number of enterprises that offer rollback services. The companies, at least superficially, discourage illegal tampering, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it. The website of one says, “We require that all customers seeking mileage correction services have a legitimate reason for concern, as it is illegal to alter your car’s mileage and not disclose that information to potential buyers.”

The mileage adjustment costs $120 on one site. The instrument cluster must be removed and shipped to the supplier, which alters the reading and sends it back.

Odometer mileage can also be altered with a tool that plugs into the OBD2 port — a connector that enables mechanics to read service codes reporting failed components.

To determine how difficult it might be to trim vehicle miles, I bought a $120 odometer rollback tool — the least expensive of those offered on eBay — to give it a try.

The device was for G.M. vehicles, so I tested it on a 2014 Equinox. The tool is meant solely for altering an odometer’s reading — once powered up, it goes right to a screen that says “Cluster Calibrate.”

The tool correctly read the mileage as 78,624 kilometers, or roughly 48,855 miles, but two attempts to reset the odometer were unsuccessful. Tampering may be relatively easy, but it apparently requires a quality device. After the test, we disabled and discarded the tool, as advised by a law enforcement official.

There are ways to help detect odometer tampering, although they’re not foolproof. For example, a check for excessive wear on the car’s frequently touched parts can provide clues to true mileage. The pedals are good indicators: Be suspicious if those in a car showing moderate mileage, say 45,000, show extreme wear or, because pedals can be changed, no wear. Either might indicate something awry. Also look at the inside of door handles, the steering wheel, armrests and anything else that is touched regularly.

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What to Do If Your Car is Recalled

Millions of cars are recalled each year, and roughly eight million already have been in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Getting a notice from the automaker that your vehicle is among them and has a safety deficiency is not only alarming, it can also lead to a flood of questions.

What must I do next? How do I get this taken care of? Is this going to cost me anything?

Even more pressing is how urgent it is to get the problem remedied. The answer is that while minor maintenance can slide a bit without causing major trouble, the safety concerns addressed by a recall are not a footnote for the “maybe someday” section of your to-do list. Recalls vary in urgency, and sometimes repairs cannot be done by the dealer immediately because replacement parts are not available; it can take months until they are. But as a recent South Carolina case makes clear, procrastination can be deadly.

In January, the driver of a 2002 Honda Accord died as a result of a crash in which the car’s airbag deployed. As the 19th death in the United States caused by shrapnel from a ruptured Takata airbag inflater, it was hardly unprecedented. But this time there was a twist: Honda, which recalled the car in 2011, said it had tried more than 100 times to reach the car’s owner by mail, phone and by in-person visits. The faulty inflaters had never been replaced.

The Takata recall, the largest in history, involves 100 million inflaters, including 67 million in the United States. And these recalls are not all a decade old. As recently as March, Ford recalled 2.6 million cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles to replace Takata driver-side airbag components.

the traffic safety agency advised owners to “park their cars outside and away from homes, other structures and other flammable materials” to prevent property loss.

Recalls are not about customer complaints like a balky air-conditioner or a rusty fender. They are specifically safety issues, even if the danger is sometimes not readily apparent. Correcting the problem should be done as quickly as possible, and, yes, the automaker will pay for it.

They are required to contact owners by mail, but if you’ve been living away from your normal home during the pandemic, there’s a chance you could have missed the notice. And if you bought a used car, the recall notice may not have caught up with you yet.

It’s easy for you to check whether a vehicle has been recalled by entering the 17-digit vehicle identification number (or VIN) on the safety agency’s web page — nhtsa.gov/recalls. The VIN can be found on the car’s registration and often on the insurance card. It’s also visible through the glass on the lower edge of the windshield on the driver’s side.

Checking for recalls is a must, especially if you are buying a used car. Using that search, you will learn if the vehicle was recalled in the past 15 calendar years and whether the issue has been addressed. The report covers major automakers, motorcycle manufacturers and some medium/heavy truck manufacturers.

automaker learns of a safety defect it must notify the safety agency promptly.

The process can also begin with consumer complaints filed on the agency database. Those complaints are reviewed, and if an analysis deems further action is needed, an investigation is opened. If that finds a problem, a recall is initiated. In practice, automakers typically begin recalls on their own, before the agency intervenes. The safety agency monitors the process to assure that customer notices are properly issued and that repairs are tracked.

The automaker can choose to repair the defect, replace the vehicle with one of identical or similar specifications, or refund the full purchase price (adjusted for depreciation). If you’ve already paid for repairs that would have been done under the recall, the automaker often must reimburse you.

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Tesla Earnings Set Record in First Quarter

Tesla on Monday is expected to report solid earnings for the first quarter of 2021, a result driven by continuing increases in sales and production around the world.

Analysts expect the automaker to report earnings of about 75 cents per share. That would be a significant increase from the 24 cents per share it reported for the fourth quarter of 2020. A year ago, it earned just 2 cents per share in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic hurt sales and forced the shutdown of its plant in Fremont, Calif.

Earlier this month, Tesla said it delivered a record 184,800 cars in the first three months of the year, more than double the total from the comparable period in 2020.

“Tesla continues to see growing pent-up demand throughout China and Europe,” Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst, wrote in a report to investors. In the United States, the Biden administration’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sales of electric vehicles is likely to help sustain demand for Tesla’s cars, Mr. Ives added.

the Tesla Model S they were riding in crashed into a tree on a residential street and burst into flames. Local police said one man was found in the passenger seat and the other in the rear seat and no one was at the steering wheel when the crash occurred.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have sent teams to investigate the crash and see whether the men had relied on Autopilot to drive the car. A Texas Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady, has written to Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, urging him to cooperate with safety regulators.

A week ago Mr. Musk posted a message on Twitter saying data from the car “so far” showed Autopilot was not enabled.

Tesla has also come under scrutiny in China, where authorities have looked into reports from consumers about battery fires and sudden acceleration by Tesla vehicles.

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Police Investigate Fatal Tesla Crash Near Houston

Federal safety officials and the Texas police are investigating a fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle that had no one behind the wheel, the authorities said Tuesday, as the company comes under heightened scrutiny over its automatic steering and braking system.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to Texas on Monday to focus on the vehicle’s operation and a fire that followed the crash on Saturday, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman. The police in Precinct 4 of Harris County, Texas, are also investigating, according to Constable Mark Herman.

Constable investigators were working with the N.T.S.B., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla, which was “helping with our investigation,” Constable Herman said in a statement. “At this time, we will refrain from making any additional statements as the investigation continues to progress,” he said.

On Monday, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, wrote on Twitter that recovered data logs showed the vehicle had not enabled Autopilot.

are calling that claim into question as they investigate Saturday’s crash and more than 20 other recent accidents in which drivers were, or may have been, using the system. Tesla vehicles are not self-driving — they require “active driver supervision,” the company says on its website — but Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically within a lane.

In the crash on Saturday night, which occurred north of Houston, physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials to believe that neither of the men were driving, according to Constable Herman.

The vehicle, a 2019 Model S, was moving at a “high rate of speed” around a curve when it veered off the road and hit a tree, Constable Herman said. He also said that it had taken the authorities four hours to put out the fire. The N.T.S.B. said last year in a report that batteries used in electric vehicles can pose safety risks to emergency responders.

Two men, 59 and 69 years old, were killed in the crash. One was in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat, officials said. “It is very early in the investigation,” said Mr. Holloway, the N.T.S.B. spokesman.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also looking into a February crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It was not clear whether the driver was using Autopilot. In another incident in February in Detroit, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, seriously injuring the driver and a passenger. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

highlighted a safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Bryan Pietsch contributed reporting.

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2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say

Mitchell Weston, chief investigator at the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said that while the batteries are “generally safe,” impacts at high speeds can result in “thermal runaway,” which causes an “uncontrolled contact” between different materials in the batteries.

Thermal runaway can lead to fires, as well as “battery reignition,” even after an initial fire is put out, the safety board warned in its report. Mitsubishi Electric warns that “thermal runaway can lead to catastrophic results, including fire, explosion, sudden system failure, costly damage to equipment, and possibly personal injury.”

The fire marshal’s office was investigating the fire in the crash, a spokeswoman said. Constable Herman said his department was working with the federal authorities to investigate.

He said that law enforcement officials had been in contact with Tesla on Saturday for “guidance on a few things” but declined to discuss the nature of the conversations.

Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations team, did not respond to a request for comment.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, earlier on Saturday had promoted a recent safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla, which on its website calls Autopilot the “future of driving,” says the feature allows its vehicles to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.” However, it warns that “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

In 2016, a driver in Florida was killed in a Tesla Model S that was in Autopilot mode and failed to brake for a tractor-trailer that made a left turn in front of it.

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Tesla’s Autopilot Technology Faces Fresh Scrutiny

Tesla faced numerous questions about its Autopilot technology after a Florida driver was killed in 2016 when the system of sensors and cameras failed to see and brake for a tractor-trailer crossing a road.

Now the company is facing more scrutiny than it has in the last five years for Autopilot, which Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have long maintained makes its cars safer than other vehicles. Federal officials are looking into a series of recent accidents involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last week that it was investigating 23 such crashes. In one accident this month, a Tesla Model Y rear-ended a police car that had stopped on a highway near Lansing, Mich. The driver, who was not seriously injured, had been using Autopilot, the police said.

In February in Detroit, under circumstances similar to the 2016 Florida accident, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, tearing the roof off the car. The driver and a passenger were seriously injured. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It is not clear if the driver was using Autopilot. The car did not appear to slow before the impact, the police said.

Autopilot is a computerized system that uses radar and cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles and objects in the road. It can steer, brake and accelerate automatically with little input from the driver. Tesla has said it should be used only on divided highways, but videos on social media show drivers using Autopilot on various kinds of roads.

“We need to see the results of the investigations first, but these incidents are the latest examples that show these advanced cruise-control features Tesla has are not very good at detecting and then stopping for a vehicle that is stopped in a highway circumstance,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a group created in the 1970s by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader.

This renewed scrutiny arrives at a critical time for Tesla. After reaching a record high this year, its share price has fallen about 20 percent amid signs that the company’s electric cars are losing market share to traditional automakers. Ford Motor’s Mustang Mach E and the Volkswagen ID.4 recently arrived in showrooms and are considered serious challengers to the Model Y.

The outcome of the current investigations is important not only for Tesla but for other technology and auto companies that are working on autonomous cars. While Mr. Musk has frequently suggested the widespread use of these vehicles is near, Ford, General Motors and Waymo, a division of Google’s parent, Alphabet, have said that moment could be years or even decades away.

played a major role” in the 2016 Florida accident. It also said the technology lacked safeguards to prevent drivers from taking their hands off the steering wheel or looking away from the road. The safety board reached similar conclusions when it investigated a 2018 accident in California.

By comparison, a similar G.M. system, Super Cruise, monitors a driver’s eyes and switches off if the person looks away from the road for more than a few seconds. That system can be used only on major highways.

In a Feb. 1 letter, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert Sumwalt, criticized NHTSA for not doing more to evaluate Autopilot and require Tesla to add safeguards that prevent drivers from misusing the system.

The new administration in Washington could take a firmer line on safety. The Trump administration did not seek to impose many regulations on autonomous vehicles and sought to ease other rules the auto industry did not like, including fuel-economy standards. By contrast, President Biden has appointed an acting NHTSA administrator, Steven Cliff, who worked at the California Air Resources Board, which frequently clashed with the Trump administration on regulations.

Concerns about Autopilot could dissuade some car buyers from paying Tesla for a more advanced version, Full Self-Driving, which the company sells for $10,000. Many customers have paid for it in the expectation of being able to use it in the future; Tesla made the option operational on about 2,000 cars in a “beta” or test version starting late last year, and Mr. Musk recently said the company would soon make it available to more cars. Full Self Driving is supposed to be able to operate Tesla cars in cities and on local roads where driving conditions are made more complex by oncoming traffic, intersections, traffic lights, pedestrians and cyclists.

Despite their names, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving have big limitations. Their software and sensors cannot control cars in many situations, which is why drivers have to keep their eyes on the road and hands on or close to the wheel.

a November letter to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles that recently became public, a Tesla lawyer acknowledged that Full Self-Driving struggled to react to a wide range of driving situations and should not be considered a fully autonomous driving system.

The system is not “not capable of recognizing or responding” to certain “circumstances and events,” Eric C. Williams, Tesla’s associate general counsel, wrote. “These include static objects and road debris, emergency vehicles, construction zones, large uncontrolled intersections with multiple incoming ways, occlusions, adverse weather, complicated or adversarial vehicles in the driving paths, unmapped roads.”

Mr. Levine of the Center for Auto Safety has complained to federal regulators that the names Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are misleading at best and could be encouraging some drivers to be reckless.

“Autopilot suggests the car can drive itself and, more importantly, stop itself,” he said. “And they doubled down with Full Self-Driving, and again that leads consumers to believe the vehicle is capable of doing things it is not capable of doing.”

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Carmakers Strive to Stay Ahead of Hackers

“Human life is involved, so cybersecurity is our top priority,” said Kevin Tierney, General Motors’ vice president for global cybersecurity. The company, which has 90 engineers working full time on cybersecurity, practices what it calls “defense in depth,” removing unneeded software and creating rules that allow vehicle systems to communicate with one another only when necessary.

It’s a practice also followed by Volkswagen, said Maj-Britt Peters, a spokeswoman for the company’s software and technology group. She noted that Volkswagen’s sensitive vehicle control systems are kept in separate domains.

Continental, a major supplier of electronic parts to automakers, employs an intrusion detection and prevention system to thwart attacks. “If the throttle position sensor is talking to the airbag, that is not planned,” Mr. Smoly said. “We can stop this, but we wouldn’t do so while the vehicle was moving.”

Still, determined hackers will eventually find a way in. To date, vehicle cybersecurity has been a patchwork effort, with no international standards or regulations. But that is about to change.

This year, a United Nations regulation on vehicle cybersecurity came into force, obligating manufacturers to perform various risk assessments and report on intrusion attempts to certify cybersecurity readiness. The regulation will take effect for all vehicles sold in Europe from July 2024 and in Japan and South Korea in 2022.

While the United States is not among the 54 signatories, vehicles sold in America aren’t likely to be built to meet different cybersecurity standards from those in cars sold elsewhere, and vice versa.

“The U.N. regulation is a global standard, and we have to meet global standards,” Mr. Tierney of G.M. said.

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