According to reports, US police revealed that a man driving a Tesla stopped in the middle of I-70 in Independence, Missouri on Sunday night, causing two cars to collide. The owner of the Tesla vehicle also lost his life. If this was a regular car, there would have been a quick investigation. However, since it is a Tesla, there will probably be a more elaborate investigation. This is because Tesla cars have more features than regular cars that could have caused the accident. As of now, the police are not yet sure what caused the vehicle to stop in the middle lane.
Local police identified the driver of the 2019 Tesla Model 3 as 74-year-old Terry L. Siegel. Passengers in Siegel’s vehicle were taken to a local hospital for treatment, the department said on Facebook, while passengers in the other two vehicles were not injured.
Police spokesman Jack Taylor told the media that at first, police speculated that the vehicle was parked in the middle of the road due to a mechanical problem that caused the vehicle to lose power. However, officials later said they could not determine what caused the vehicle to stop at this time. Investigators plan to extract data from Tesla’s computers in the coming days to better understand what happened, Taylor said.
NHTSA joins the investigation
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSA), which investigates traffic accidents, told the media that the agency has reached out to the local police department to gather more information about the incident. As of now, there is no response with regard to the incident. In a statement to Fox4 TV in Kansas City, the agency called the crash “unusual and very unique”.
Last month, the NHTSA launched an initial investigation into Tesla after hundreds of owners reported that their vehicles sometimes applied automatic braking for no apparent reason. The agency said the incidents, known as “ghost braking,” sometimes occur on highways.
When the vehicle’s Autopilot driving assistance function is active, the vehicle may suddenly start to brake. Autopilot can realize automatic braking, steering and acceleration operations to help the vehicle achieve a certain degree of semi-autonomous driving on the highway. The agency is currently investigating Model Y and Model 3 production in 2021 and 2022. Some owners of 2019 and 2020 vehicles have also complained to NHTSA about issues with the ghost brakes.
The problem appears to stem from an issue with Tesla’s automatic emergency braking system. This system is available on most new cars and activates the brakes when sensors indicate an imminent collision. According to owner reports, Tesla sometimes identifies oncoming vehicles, shadows, and passing vehicles as dangerous obstacles to avoid.