Tesla Driver Who Hit Two Cars in Connecticut Says He Used Autopilot

Marco Green
December 9, 2019

Within the newest incident to lift security considerations about Tesla's "Autopilot" function, a driver rear-ended a police cruiser whereas checking on his canine within the again seat, CT cops mentioned.

The accident took place early Saturday morning when the Tesla with CT plates reading "MODEL3" was traveling northbound on Interstate 95.

The driver - who said he had the auto on Autopilot and was making sure his pooch in the back seat was OK - was slapped with a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving and reckless endangerment, police said. A Tesla Model 3 came rolling down Interstate 95, rear-ending a vehicle stalled in the left-center lane, even though it was properly signaled with blinking lights and flares positioned on the ground. Investigators haven't revealed whether the Model's 3 brakes were applied prior to the collision, either by the driver or the auto.

Earlier this year, Tesla itself released statistics confirming that Autopilot incidents had increased slightly but human-related driving errors were down in the first quarter of 2019, suggesting that Tesla vehicles travel greater distances without incident versus the national average. Citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it reminded motorists that "although a number of vehicles have some automated capabilities, there are no vehicles now on sale that are fully automated or self-driving".

This time, there were no injuries, but financial damage seems pretty high, based on photos shared online by the Connecticut State Police.

The driver was hit with 2 summonses for reckless endangerment and reckless driving, and an investigation is underway. According to the report, the roof of the Model 3 vehicle "was sheared off as the vehicle underrode the semitrailer" and the 50-year-old driver was killed.

This isn't the first time a driver has misused Autopilot, and nearly any accident involving a Tesla brings the technology into question. The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The driver remains fully responsible for keeping hands on the steering wheel, and eyes on the road, and its cars aren't taught to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. The spokesperson added that "we are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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