WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The top U.S. vehicle safety regulator has launched a formal investigation into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV, which tragically claimed the lives of an Indian American family of four. The incident occurred in Pleasanton, California, around 9 p.m. on April 24, when the vehicle apparently lost control, crashed into an oak tree, and caught fire.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that its Special Crash Investigations division will document the crash circumstances and the resulting fire. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department identified the victims as Tarun and Rincy George and their two children. Notably, the Georges did not own the vehicle; it had been loaned to them by a co-worker.

Shortly after the crash, a complaint was filed with the NHTSA detailing that the vehicle’s owner had experienced a previous incident where the car’s lane assist feature jerked the vehicle to the right. This complaint raised concerns that a similar issue might have contributed to the fatal accident.

Despite the NHTSA’s involvement, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not initiated an investigation into the crash. The Pleasanton Police Department continues its own investigation, with early reports indicating that speed might have played a role in the driver losing control.

VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer, began shipping its VF8 SUV to the U.S. in early 2023. However, the rollout has faced significant criticism over quality issues. In May 2023, VinFast issued a recall due to problems with the dashboard screen going blank. Additionally, there have been other complaints lodged with the NHTSA about the vehicle’s driver assistance system unexpectedly turning the steering wheel.

According to U.S. auto safety investigators, the probe will thoroughly examine the crash circumstances from April 24. The complaint filed on April 29 by a co-worker of the crash victims indicated concerns about the vehicle’s steering. The co-worker described a previous incident where the steering wheel unexpectedly maneuvered to the right, though they managed to regain control. This raised alarms about the possibility of a recurring steering issue.

The Pleasanton Police Department reported that the family involved in the crash did not own the car, supporting the details in the NHTSA complaint. VinFast has yet to respond to requests for comment regarding the accident and investigation. However, a spokesperson for VinFast acknowledged the accident earlier this month, stating, “The authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident and will share their findings when their work is completed.”

The NHTSA typically conducts over 100 special crash investigations annually, focusing on emerging technologies and other potential auto safety issues.