NORWALK, CT- Elon Musk has been all over the news lately with his latest vehicle release, but this time around, he and his car company are back in a not so pleasant spotlight regarding Tesla’s self-driving features.
A Tesla in Norwalk, Connecticut that was – according to the driver – engaged in autopilot mode had rear-ended a Connecticut trooper’s vehicle early Saturday morning. Luckily, no one was hurt in the crash.
According to state police, the operator of the self-driving Tesla was checking on his dog in the back seat when the vehicle crashed into the trooper’s car.
Police said they had responded to a disabled vehicle that was stopped in the middle of Interstate 95. While waiting for a tow, the self-driving Tesla came down the road.
After striking the trooper’s vehicle, the driver in the Tesla then rear-ended the disabled vehicle that the trooper was tending to, before coming to a complete stop. According to authorities:
“The operator of the Tesla continued to slowly travel northbound before being stopped several hundred feet ahead by the second trooper on scene. The operator of the Tesla stated that he had his vehicle on ‘Auto-pilot’ and explained that he was checking on his dog which was in the back seat prior to hitting the collision.”
According to police, the cruiser had also its emergency lights on at the time of the incident. The driver of the vehicle in this case was issued a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Still, leaving the driving to the car could have demonstrated far worse outcomes. Officials speculated on this very notion when they stated:
“Fortunately, no one involved was seriously injured, but it is apparent that this incident could have been more severe. Regardless of your vehicle’s capabilities, when operating a vehicle your full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving.”
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Self-driving Teslas have been a topic of scrutiny over the years since they were unveiled, and while this latest incident levied no serious injuries or fatalities, previous ones have.
In Williston, Florida, back in May of 2016, a Tesla engaged in autopilot mode crashed into an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, killing the driver of the Tesla.
An investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated the crash occurred when the tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the 2015 Tesla model S at an intersection, and the car failed to apply the brakes.
Back on January 22nd, 2018, there was another Tesla autopilot related crash, thankfully without severe injury occurring. A 2014 Tesla Model S had crashed into a fire truck parked on the side of the freeway in Culver City, California, while going over 50 miles per hour.
The driver told the Culver City Fire Department that he was using the autopilot feature when the crashed happened.
The fire truck and a California Highway Patrol vehicle were parked diagonally across the left emergency lane and high-occupancy vehicle lane of the southbound 405, as they were blocking off the scene of an earlier accident when the Tesla made impact.
Later that same year, California played host once again to a Tesla autopilot related crash that happened around the Mountain View area, where sadly the driver died as a result.
A statement released by the California Highway Patrol about the March, 2018 incident read:
“A blue Tesla was traveling southbound US-101 southbound when for unknown reasons the Tesla collided with the attenuator barrier dividing the SR-85 southbound connector and US-101 southbound lanes.
The Tesla was struck by a white Mazda and consequently struck again by a gray Audi. The Tesla then caught fire. The driver sustained major injuries and later succumbed to his injuries at Stanford Hospital.”
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