Tesla Driver Who Hit Two Cars in Connecticut Says He Used Autopilot

December 9, 2019

The driver of a Tesla says the car was on autopilot when it struck a police cruiser and a disabled vehicle on Saturday in Connecticut, according to State Police.

State Police said troopers responded to Interstate 95 northbound early Saturday in Norwalk, Conn., for a disabled car on the highway and stopped their cruisers behind the car, with their emergency lights on to await a tow truck.

The Tesla struck one cruiser and the disabled vehicle, State Police said, and the driver said he was using the car’s autopilot system while he checked on his dog.

No one was seriously injured. Police did not publicly name the driver, who was issued a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

Police say they want to remind drivers that regardless of their vehicles’ capabilities, their full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving.

Other crashes have called into question the effectiveness of Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system.

A government investigation, released in September, blamed a design flaw in the autopilot system and driver inattention for a January 2018 crash in Culver City, near Los Angeles. A Model S electric car slammed into a firetruck parked along a California freeway. No one was hurt.

Autopilot was engaged but failed to brake in three other crashes in which drivers were killed since 2016, two in Florida and one in Silicon Valley.

Tesla has said repeatedly that the semi-autonomous system is designed to assist drivers, who must pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times.

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