Tesla in Autopilot mode crashes into fire truck near LA

Tesla Driver, Passed Out Drunk, Tells Highway Patrol Autopilot Was in Charge

The driver says, he was not driving.

Despite the warnings, Tesla has been accused in the past of making Autopilot seem like a safer feature than it actually is. For instance, before a driver can enable the autopilot, the driver must tell the software that he or she acknowledges rules about being prepared and engaged at all times. "Amazingly there were no injuries!"

According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver explained that his Tesla electric vehicle "had been set on autopilot", obviating the need for him to be in control of the vehicle or, well, sober. "Please stay alert while driving!" the union said in the tweet.

A Tesla spokesperson said in a statement that the autopilot function is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.

NTSB previously found that aspects of Tesla's "Autopilot" were a factor in the 2016 fatal crash in Williston, Florida that killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown (Details here). It warns drivers not to delegate responsibility for watching the road to the onboard computer. The force of the impact crushed the front of the Tesla and damaged the rear of the fire truck, but no one was hurt in the incident. The NTSB said Tesla could have taken further steps to prevent the system's misuse, and faulted the driver for not paying attention. As a result, the car's auto-braking never activated and it slammed full speed into the side of the truck. The auto had been traveling at 65 miles an hour, the tweet said.

In its report, the National Transportation Safety Board cited Joshua Brown's overreliance on the autopilot.

It wasn't clear in Monday's accident why the Tesla sensor technology didn't see a stationary vehicle, the fire truck, in its path. The agency said the Autopilot system operated as designed but did not ensure drivers paid adequate attention.

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