You should never jump too quickly to conclusions from a Tesla accident

Following “uncontrolled” acceleration of his Tesla, a taxi driver caused a fatal accident in Paris in 2021. However, the experts’ investigation conclusions did not find any system failure in this direction.

Spectacular accidents involving Tesla cars often cause a lot of publicity. This was the case of this terrible accident which killed a cyclist and injured 21 people in Paris in December 2021. Behind a media frenzy quick to accuse Tesla’s electric car of having caused the tragedy, the conclusions of the investigation do not ultimately do not reach the same conclusion.

It is an article from Le Parisien of May 23 which highlights the experts’ investigation report, indicating that they did not find any technical failure in the car.

The most spectacular accidents are often attributable to the driver

In the events that took place in Paris in 2021, a Tesla Model 3 found itself accelerating up to 142 km/h in the streets of Paris before fatally hitting a cyclist, and ending its race in other vehicles after hitting a lamp post. The taxi driver driving the car, with members of his family on board, said he tried to brake without success. He filed a lawsuit against Tesla finding the car responsible for the accident.

The experts’ conclusions do not support the driver’s testimony. No trace of action on the brake was recorded by the car, which retains all driving data, and no trace at the scene of the accident seems to confirm this hypothesis. The driver’s lawyer wants to request a second opinion to contest the conclusions of this investigation.

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Video extract from the Tesla accident in China // Source: Capture Youtube

This conclusion is reminiscent of another accident that took place in China in November 2022. A Model Y found itself accelerating sharply until the moment of the crash. The driver had accused the car of accelerating on its own. The investigation then proved that the driver was behind the acceleration and that he had not applied the brake. The driver eventually backed down. Other such accidents have also been recorded elsewhere in the world, including many quite impressive accidents in the United States.

A situation to distinguish from accidents with Autopilot

Other lawsuits in the United States are still under investigation to determine whether Tesla is responsible for accidents, sometimes fatal, involving assisted driving called Autopilot (level 2 autonomous driving). But the case of Autopilot, which rushes the car into an obstacle, should be differentiated from these out-of-control Teslas, which accelerate without being able to brake until they have an accident. Driving aids require constant supervision from the driver, but some of the brand’s customers rely a little too much on the autonomous driving capabilities of Teslas.

type="image/avif"> type="image/webp">Testing of FSD v10.69 by the first testers // Source</a>: Video extract from James Locke on Youtube>>Testing of FSD v10.69 by the first testers // Source</a>: Video extract from James Locke on Youtube
Testing of FSD v10.69 by the first testers // Source: Video extract from James Locke on Youtube

Suspicions of failures in the Tesla braking system have nevertheless emerged in recent years. Until now, the American manufacturer has never been worried. Problems of this type have often led to recognition of misuse of the vehicle by the driver, who tried to exonerate himself by blaming the vehicle’s electronics.

A software or mechanical problem can never be ruled out, but recent evidence does not point in this direction. We must not forget that Teslas record the various actions of the vehicle, which makes it possible to trace the various incidents encountered by the car before the accident.

On the other hand, we should stop systematically stigmatizing Tesla accidents. Millions of accidents take place with other automobile brands, without necessarily blaming a manufacturer’s failure even before the results of the investigation. Human driving error remains the majority cause of accidents.

Electric cars are quickly stigmatized during spectacular accidents, but there is not necessarily any reason to do so. You can subscribe to our Watt Else newsletter to better understand developments in electric mobility.

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