Tesla Driver Says Full Self-Driving Mode Caused 8-Car Crash

The software allegedly forced sudden braking, which triggered a pileup.

By Steve Huff

Robyn Beck | Getty Images

On November 19, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that "full self-driving software" (FSD) packages were available to all Tesla owners. Shortly afterward, on Thanksgiving Day, one of the company's EVs allegedly triggered a pileup just outside San Francisco.

According to CNN, California Highway Patrol reports indicate the accident required treatment for injuries to nine people, including "one juvenile" who had to go to the hospital. While the Highway Patrol said it couldn't confirm whether the FSD was engaged when the crash occurred, stating that Tesla would know whether it was, the agency did see videos of the incident in which the EV changed lanes and then slowed to a complete stop.

Here's more from CNN:

"Full self-driving" is designed to keep up with traffic, steer in the lane and abide by traffic signals. It requires an attentive human driver prepared to take full control of the car at any moment. It's delighted some drivers but also alarmed others with its limitations. Drivers are warned by Tesla when they install "full self-driving" that it "may do the wrong thing at the worst time."

The Highway Patrol's report indicated that the Model S was moving at 55 mph and had veered into the left lane before hitting the brakes, quickly reducing speed to 20 mph. This set off "a chain reaction" in which the other eight vehicles, all traveling at average speeds, plowed into each other.

CNN notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) already has a file on Tesla vehicles, having received multiple safety-related complaints. The EV company's driver-assist features — FSD and Autopilot — are under close scrutiny, and many of the issues currently under investigation are braking-related. Drivers say they've experienced "random," sudden braking, sometimes "repeatedly in a single drive," and have detailed many close calls.

According to CNN's report, the NHTSA's investigation involves an engineering analysis, and this hints at a possible recall in Tesla's future.

Steve Huff

Entrepreneur Staff

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