Tesla Driver in Utah Crash Says Autopilot Was Engaged

Daniel Fowler
May 15, 2018

A photo released by the South Jordan Police Department shows a traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a Fire Department mechanic truck. The agency has said it does not expect the semi-autonomous system to be a focus of that investigation.

The driver of the Tesla may face charges for failing to maintain the safety of her vehicle, which would be a traffic infraction, according to police spokesman Sgt. Samuel Winkler.

The 28-year-old female driver of the auto, who is unnamed, told Utah police that the Autopilot system was switched on she was looking at her phone when her vehicle slammed into the fire engine stopped at a red light.

There was no indication the Tesla's driver was under the influence of any substance, and information on what the driver may have told investigators about the circumstances of the crash likely wouldn't be available before Monday, Winkler said by telephone.

There was light rain falling and roads were wet when the crash occurred, police said in a statement. Police said the Tesla driver, who was reportedly looking at her phone before the crash, was taken to hospital with a broken ankle, while the truck driver suffered whiplash.

Tesla's Autopilot system uses cameras, radar and computers to keep speed, change lanes and automatically stop vehicles. Tesla requires drivers to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel at all times when Autopilot is engaged.

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Tepper attended Peabody High School and is a graduate Carnegie Mellon University, where the business school is named after him. According to ESPN's David Newton, Tepper was in Charlotte last Wednesday to meet with team officials.

News of the crash came as a top Tesla official who had been the main technical contact with US safety investigators left the company to join rival Waymo.

Musk also complained to the media that, according to him, ignore the 40,000 annual deaths from traffic accidents in the United States, and acknowledged that although the technology is not ideal, "system, which in General saves lives and reduces injuries, should be released".

Responding to a user who indicated that Tesla's autopilot function still needs safety tweaking, Musk stated: "It certainly needs to be better & we work to improve it every day, but flawless is enemy of good".

Police said they had been in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash.

Despite the rocky relationship between Tesla and the NTSB, agency spokesperson Keith Holloway said he's still uncertain as to whether the agency will open an investigation into the accident.

Over the past two months, federal officials have opened investigations into at least two other crashes involving Tesla vehicles.

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