Driverless Tesla Crashes Into Tree, Kills Two In Texas

driverless-tesla-kills-2-texasLocal authorities in Texas are investigating the killing of two passengers when a Tesla electronic vehicle crashed and erupted into flames late Saturday. According to authorities, the car appeared to be “driver-less”.

One of the two victims was found on the front passenger seat of the Tesla 2019 Model S vehicle. The other casualty was found in the rear. 

In a telephone interview with Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, the vehicle crashed into a tree at the Carlton Woods subdivision near The Woodlands. The vehicle was believed to have been traveling at high speed and failed to make a turn. 

Hernan says that the incident is still “under investigation.” But based on the position of the victims when they were found, statements, and the other physical evidence at the scene of the accident suggest that “no one was driving the vehicle at the time of impact.”

Hernan’s office is currently coordinating with federal authorities but did not specify which ones. At the time of publication, the local authorities do not know whether or not the Autopilot feature was activated. 

The vehicle burned for hours and required over 30,000 gallons of water to put out the fire. 

When asked for a comment Sunday, Tesla Inc. did not respond right away.  

In the past, federal officials have criticized Tesla for the number of fire risks related to their vehicles’ battery packs. They have also been under fire for not doing enough to ensure that drivers do not inappropriately use the driver-assist function found in their cars. 

In a hearing last year, the National Transportation Safety Board’s chairman said in a hearing that “it’s time to stop enabling drivers in any partially automated vehicle to pretend that they have driverless cars.” 

The NTSB does not plan to open a new investigation into the new incident, especially since they have already investigated several other Tesla crashes in the past. 

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, took to Twitter to defend the safety record of their vehicles. He recently shared a report on the social media site that says Tesla vehicles with engaged Autopilot are nearing a “10 times lower” chance of encountering an accident compared to a typical vehicle.