Tesla driver had her hands off wheel before crash

Tesla driver had her hands off wheel before crash

According to South Jordan police's summary of technician findings, the 28-year-old driver had repeatedly enabled and disabled the Autopilot features of her Tesla Model S throughout the course of her drive.

According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the auto claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is not investigating the Utah crash.

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the (approximately) 40,000 people who died in U.S. auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage", Musk said in a tweet. She took her hands off the wheel more than a dozen times, twice for more than a minute each.

"Drivers are repeatedly advised Autopilot features do not make Tesla vehicles "autonomous" and that the driver absolutely must remain vigilant with their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and they must be prepared to take any and all action necessary to avoid hazards on the road", the statement said, citing Tesla.

"What's actually fantastic about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph and the driver only broke an ankle". "She did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds until the crash happened; this is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time".

Police issued the driver a traffic citation for failure to keep proper lookout.

"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the auto impervious to all accidents", the statement said.

Tesla's Autopilot relies on a system of radar, cameras with 360-degree visibility and sensors to detect nearby objects and perform basic functions such as parking, steering and emergency braking, which Tesla advertises as being able to "detect objects and automatically apply brakes to help avoid or lessen impact".

It is the third Tesla crash since January that the NHTSA is investigating that may have been linked to autopilot.

Musk complained in a recent earnings call that accidents involving self-driving cars get sensational headlines while the potential for the technology to save lives is downplayed or ignored.

Tesla says the system is not created to avoid a collision and warns drivers not to rely on it entirely; it's unclear if the system activated before this crash. The NTSB had yet to announce whether they will be looking into the Utah crash.

A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment on what steps the company may take following the incident, but reiterated in a statement that the Tesla autopilot feature does not relieve a driver from the responsibility to stay closely engaged with the vehicle's operation.

Also in March, an Arizona pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle with a backup driver behind the wheel.

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