Tesla Hits Parked State Trooper in Florida, Owner Claims Autopilot was Engaged



Photo: Florida Highway Patrol via CNBC

Tesla’s electric vehicles (EVs) are offering the world a chance at lower emissions and safer driving, according to the company, but a recent string of accidents involving the company’s Autopilot feature has critics taking aim at the California automaker.

A Tesla Model 3 driver was allegedly using Autopilot when she hit a parked police car as well as a Mercedes SUV on Saturday in Orlando, Florida, according to CNBC. No injuries were sustained, and while the driver said the vehicle was in Autopilot, authorities have opened an investigation into the case.

Photo: Florida Highway Patrol via CNBC

Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported that the state trooper’s vehicle had stopped the Mercedes SUV on the side of I-4 in Orlando, and the officer had already exited the vehicle prior to the crash.

Photo: Florida Highway Patrol via CNBC

The news comes just weeks after the U.S. government opened an investigation into 765,000 Tesla vehicles over Autopilot-involved first responder crashes.

In May, a Tesla on Autopilot crashed into a sheriff’s vehicle in Washington state while it was parked on the shoulder of the highway. In July, a family in California filed a lawsuit against Tesla for the death of their 15-year-old son, alleging that it was a result of Autopilot.

Now, Tesla’s Autopilot says owners should always have their hands on the wheel and be ready to take over in any situation. While we don’t know all of the circumstances involving the accident, the moment a Tesla owner engages Autopilot, they should remain vigilant and pay attention to what’s coming ahead of them. It’s likely the state trooper had its flashing lights on, so how difficult would it have been to spot it parked on the side of the interstate?

Still, Tesla’s Q2 safety report shows yet another improvement to safety, including fewer accidents than the previous quarter – a trend that has been heading in that direction for many quarters in a row now.


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