The News Today
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10.26.20
Hands on the Wheel

A Tesla Driver Was Eating, Drinking During Autopilot Crash

__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Advanced Transport
Victor Tangermann

Eyes on the Road

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that a driver who crashed his Tesla Model S into a Culver City Fire Department fire truck in January 2018 was eating and drinking coffee behind the wheel, immediately before the crash.

And yes, Autopilot was turned on during the crash — yet another sign that Tesla drivers often misinterpret what the “self-driving” feature can or cannot take care of for you during your morning commute.

Driver Assist

The investigation concluded over a year and half after the crash occurred.

“When the crash occurred, the fire truck was unoccupied, and the driver of the sedan did not report any injuries,” reads the NTSB’s report. “Statements from the driver and data downloaded from the Tesla after the crash indicate that the driver was utilizing driver assist technology when the crash occurred.”

Blaming Autopilot

According to data received by the NTSB, the driver “had his hands off the wheel [for] 12 minutes, 57 seconds” leading up to the crash. That means the driver got four different “place hands on the wheel” alerts.

But whether or not the driver had his hands off the wheel — as the report claims — is unclear, as Electrek points out. Tesla isn’t able to detect if hands touch the wheel or not. It can only detect whether torque is applied.

Tesla’s own investigation concluded, thanks to a witness account, that the driver was on his phone right before the crash — though the driver himself denies that claim.

READ MORE: Tesla driver was eating and drinking during publicized Autopilot crash, NTSB reports [Electrek]

More on Autopilot: Idiot Drivers Can’t Grasp That Teslas Aren’t Fully Autonomous