Authorities say Tesla Model S accelerated seconds before crash in Utah

Auto / Tech
Tesla Model S

The driver of the Tesla Model S, Heather Lommatzsch, told police she assumed the Model S auto emergency braking system would detect traffic and stop.

Image Courtesy South Jordan Police Department via AP, File

Yet another Tesla Model S accident is making it to the news. This time, a Tesla Model S in Utah slammed into a stopped firetruck injuring two people. According to the police report, the Model S was in Autopilot mode and accelerated seconds before running into the firetruck. The driver had to engage the braking system manually but only had a fraction of a second to do so.

Police hypothesize the Model S was matching the cars speed in front of it and when that car changed lanes the Tesla speed up without noticing the stopped emergency vehicle. The driver of the Tesla Model S, Heather Lommatzsch, told police she assumed the Model S auto emergency braking system would detect traffic and stop. Lommatzsch said she’s owned the Model S for two-years and successfully operated in Autopilot many times.

Lommatzsch said the car did not provide any audio or visual warnings before the crash. A witness told police she did not see signs the car illuminate its brake lights or swerve to avoid the truck ahead of it.

Tesla referred to a prior comment that drivers are continually reminded to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicle at all times while using the Autopilot system.

“Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents,” it said.

Police say car data show Lommatzsch did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash. She told police she was looking at her phone and comparing different routes to her destination.

Tesla does warn drivers not to rely on the automated systems of the car 100%. It is important drivers maintain situational awareness and be prepared to take control of the vehicle should a scenario arise where the car is not in control. Autopilot is still a much-debated feature on Tesla cars and accidents like these aren’t helping matters.

What do you think of this latest accident involving a Tesla vehicle? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: ABC News
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