Tesla Model S crash in Utah involved Autopilot, distracted driver

SAN FRANCISCO – A Tesla Model S that crashed into a stopped fire truck at 60 mph was operating in Autopilot mode, according to Utah police officials. The driver...

SAN FRANCISCO – A Tesla Model S that crashed into a stopped fire truck at 60 mph was operating in Autopilot mode, according to Utah police officials.

The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old woman from Lehi, Utah, slammed into the truck in South Jordan, Utah, on Friday. The woman told police she was looking at her phone prior to the collision.

The result was an accordioned front end for the electric car, but only a broken foot for the driver, according to a statement late Monday from Sgt. Sam Winkler of the South Jordan Police Department. The truck’s driver was checked for whiplash and was not checked into the hospital.

A Tesla spokesperson said the company’s previous response to the crash still stood, which noted that Autopilot – a semi-autonomous system that works like a souped up cruise control – requires constant vigilance and is not meant to take over driving responsibilities while drivers focus on other chores.

Winkler said that South Jordan police was continuing to investigate the crash, and would be working with Tesla to gather vehicle information from the Model S’s computers over the coming days.

Eyewitness accounts indicate the Model S did not slow down as it rammed into the back of the truck, which was stopped at a traffic light in the far right lane.

Autopilot has been in the crosshairs of federal crash investigators, dating back to a 2016 crash of Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode that killed its driver after the car failed to stop for a tractor trailer that cut across its path.

More recently, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were called into to review details of a March crash that saw a Tesla Model X slam into a highway divider in Mountain View, Calif. The driver died.

Tesla has said the driver ignored the car’s warnings to take back control of the car, while his family is considering suing on the grounds that Tesla ignored the driver’s previously raised concerns about Autopilot acting up on that same stretch of Silicon Valley highway.

This story is developing.

 

Source: USAToday 

 Featured Image: Getty Images 

 Inset Image: AP Photo/File 

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