Autopilot Tesla Crash

Deadly High Speed Car Crash into Tree

Kylie Campbell, Author

On April 17, 2021, two men were killed in a Texas car crash  after authorities said a Tesla that “no one was driving” crashed into a tree.

Police responded to the crash that occurred at 11:25 p.m. The vehicle, a 2019 Tesla Model S, was driving at high speed when it ran off the road, hit a tree, and burst into flames. After a preliminary investigation was conducted, it revealed that no one was behind the wheel when the accident occurred. The car was in autopilot mode. One person was in the passenger seat and another was in the rear seat. Deputies used more than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames because the vehicle’s battery kept reigniting the fire. At some point during the fire, which lasted for about four hours, the responding officers had to call Tesla to determine how to put out the flames.

This isn’t the first time that Tesla’s autopilot mode has caused a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month that it was investigating nearly two dozen crashes involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it. In 2018, a 38-year-old driver was killed in Mountain View, California after a Tesla Model X that was on autopilot crashed into a concrete divider and caught fire. The company said at the time that no action had been taken by the driver, who had a 5-second view of the concrete divider. And in 2016, a 40-year-old driver in Florida was killed in a Tesla Model S on autopilot that failed to stop when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the vehicle.  Unfortunately for Tesla, after this April 17th crash, stock prices dropped as much as 30%.  On the bright side, experts do believe that it will bounce back, but it may not be for some time now.

Now, the autopilot feature is a cool thing to have on your car, but it has obvious safety flaws. A car’s machinery and computer systems don’t react the same way that a human being would.  Additionally, the car can very easily malfunction. Tesla has sent out a statement after the accident that you should be in the driver seat even if it is on autopilot.   Here at the Sandscript, all we can say is to heed the advice of Tesla, because even if the car does malfunction, the driver can override the autopilot and react as needed.