No Driver Behind the Wheel in Fatal Tesla Accident in Spring, Texas
SPRING, TX - According to an online news report published on CNN.com, two people were tragically killed in a Tesla Model S collision last Saturday. According to the Harris County Police, there was no driver sitting behind the car's steering wheel that crashed.
The fatal accident occurred in Spring, Texas, which is a Houston suburb. According to the Harris County Police Constable Mark Herman, there was one passenger in the front passenger seat and another passenger in the rear seat of the Tesla. Constable Herman stated that the Harris County Police investigators are certain that no one was in the Tesla's driver's seat at the time of the accident.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out a response to the accident by stating that the Tesla car involved in the fatal accident did not have its "Autopilot" feature engaged according to the data logs that Tesla has recovered so far. Mr. Musk did not elaborate on what details the car's data logs would provide. Mr. Musk also pointed out that the car's standard Autopilot will not turn on unless the road has lane lines to follow, and the road where the accident occurred did not have lines.
According to the news report, the two victims, a 59-year old man and a 69-year old man, were riding in a 2019 Tesla Model S. The article states that the car apparently drove off of the road when the car failed to navigate a curve in the road and then collided with some trees. Constable Herman stated that the accident is currently under investigation, but accident evidence collected seems to that the Tesla car was moving at a "high rate of speed."
The Tesla Autopilot driving feature is designed to help the driver by keeping the motor vehicle in its traffic lane and slowing or stopping the car to avoid obstacles ahead. Telsa's website provides a warning about the Autopilot features and requires an active driver who is watching the road carefully. But just this past Saturday, just hours before the Saturday night accident, Musk tweeted out a claim that the Autopilot feature was significantly safer than human drivers, which is inconsistent with needing a human driver at all times. According to Mr. Musk's tweet, "Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of an accident than average vehicle."
Musk was applying the company crash data showing Teslas with the Autopilot engaged were involved in only one crash for every 4.19 million miles driven in Q1 of 2021. However, the miles-driven comparisons are misleading because drivers who use Autopilot typically only use the feature on limited-access highways, which reduces the risk of being in an accident.
It is well documented that most accidents can be prevented with a little extra care and safety education. Since 1984, Montlick & Associates has been dedicated to keeping children and families safe on the roadway. Our commitment runs deep through our extensive, award-winning public service programs that provide people the information they need to avoid injuries. To learn about our Don't Drink and Drive Campaign, Child Passenger Safety Programs, Booster Seat Campaign and much more, visit montlick.com and click on “community service,” or simply click here. You can also learn more about one of our newest driver and passenger safety programs by visiting iridesafe.com.
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