National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

Senate joins probes into Boeing 737 MAX

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX planes
(Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz will hold a Commerce subcommittee hearing next Wednesday examining the U.S. government's oversight of the Boeing 737 MAX, which has suffered two fatal crashes since October, leading to the grounding of the global fleet.

Between the lines: Cruz, who chairs the subcommittee on aviation and space, is seeking information on what various agencies knew about the plane's safety and where oversight processes may have gone wrong. Top officials from the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Department of Transportation will testify. Topics will include similarities between the two crashes, one in Indonesia in October and the other last week in Ethiopia.

Tesla safety probes bring scrutiny for regulators too

Illustration of a Tesla steering wheel covered in caution tape
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal authorities leave it up to automakers to assess the safety of their own automated driving systems, but mounting investigations into Tesla crashes suggest regulators need to get tougher.

Why it matters: Tesla cars cannot drive themselves, but some owners are too trusting of their car's Autopilot assisted-driving technology and fail to stay alert. If the government finds Teslas are more prone to crashes than other vehicles with similar systems, it could determine Autopilot has a defect that poses "an unreasonable risk to safety" and order the company to conduct a recall.

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