The owner of a Tesla told police the electric vehicle’s self-driving feature apparently malfunctioned on Thanksgiving Day near San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, causing an eight-car pileup on Interstate 80.
The car was going about 55 miles per hour when it suddenly moved over to the far left lane and abruptly braked, CNN Business reported. That maneuver caused a chain reaction of vehicles slamming into each other at freeway speeds, according to the report.
Four ambulances were called to the scene and nine people were treated for minor injuries, including a juvenile who was hospitalized, CNN reported.
The news outlet said it used a public records request to get the California Highway Patrol‘s crash report. That report indicated the law enforcement agency was unable to confirm whether full self-driving mode had been active at the time of the incident.
San Francisco’s KGO-TV shared footage of the accident scene:
The feature, according to CNN, “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 first reports were received in the fall of 2021. By February, the NHTSA had received 350 complaints of their cars braking for no apparent reason, according to the report.
By June, that number had grown to 758, prompting the government agency to demand information from the automaker regarding the number of incidents, crashes, injuries, deaths and property damage claims related to the problem.
“When the sudden unintended braking defect occurs, they turn what is supposed to be a safety feature into a frightening and dangerous nightmare,” the lawsuit claimed, according to Reuters.
The Verge reported that the electric vehicle maker has been silent on the issue, but added that’s nothing new. “Tesla did not reply to a request for comment, nor has it since 2019 when it dissolved its PR department,” the Verge reported.
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