DETROIT (NEWSnet/AP) — Two fatal crashes involving Ford's Blue Cruise partially automated driving system have drawn the attention of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA has opened an investigation of the crashes, both involving Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles on freeways in nighttime lighting conditions.

The agency's initial investigation of the crashes, which killed three people, determined Blue Cruise was in use just prior to the collisions.

One crash occurred in February in San Antonio, Texas, the other in March in Philadelphia. 

Investigation will evaluate how Blue Cruise performs driving tasks and its camera-based driver monitoring system.

National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the San Antonio crash. NTSB can make only recommendations, but NHTSA has the authority to take action, including seeking recalls for safety issues.

Ford says its systems do not replace human drivers, who must be ready to take control at any time.

NTSB said it opened the probe due to continued interest in advanced driver assistance systems and how vehicle operators interact with the technology.

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