Musk irritated by media attention for another Tesla crash
Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla, is irritated by the huge media attention a new accident with a Tesla S gets in America, where the car smashed into a fire department truck while driving on Autopilot. The car was wrecked, but the driver only suffered from a broken ankle.
‘Super messed up’
“It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news, whereas the 40.000 people who died in US car accidents alone in the past year get almost no coverage at all”, Musk tweeted.
“What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 mph (96 kph) and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death”, he added.
Eyes on the road
The accident occurred in Salt Lake City (Utah). According to local newspaper, Salt Lake Tribune, the 28-year old woman driving the car declared to the police she had activated the Autopilot function of the car, the semi-automatic mode in which the car steers itself, but the driver has to keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
She admitted to the police she wasn’t paying attention to the road, as she was focusing on her smartphone and didn’t see the fire truck standing still before a red traffic light. According to witnesses the car didn’t brake before it hit the truck.
Withdrawn from NTSB investigation
Last month Tesla withdrew officially from the investigation led by the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) into the deadly crash, in March 2018 in Mountain View (CA), of a Tesla X Model on Autopilot.
Tesla didn’t want to comply with the NTSB’s request not to communicate about the Autopilot as long as the investigation runs. In the Utah case the NTSB hasn’t communicated yet whether it will start an investigation.
Tesla on fire
In Switzerland Tesla got under fire too by… the fire department who posted images of a deadly accident with a Tesla S in the canton of Ticino. The 48-year-old German driver was killed in the accident when he lost control and the car hit the median strip, tripped over and caught fire.
The fire department stated on Facebook images of the huge flames, they attributed to the lithium-ion batteries of the car that caused a chemical reaction causing a non-stoppable temperature raise.
In a comment Tesla downplayed this as ‘pure speculation’ and urged the Swiss firemen to await the police investigation before jumping to conclusions. On earlier occasions Musk repeatedly stated that a fire in a Tesla is less likely than in a car with a combustion engine. The fire department post on the accident was removed accordingly.