Confirmed: Tesla was on autopilot during South Jordan crash

Officials in South Jordan have released their final report on a Tesla that crashed into a Unified Fire Authority pickup on Friday when set to the autopilot mode. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah, May 14, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials in South Jordan have confirmed that the Tesla that crashed into a Unified Fire Authority pickup on Friday was, indeed, set to the autopilot mode.

“The driver of the Tesla Model S (28-year-old female from Lehi, Utah) was subsequently interviewed by the South Jordan Police and said that she had been using the ‘autopilot’ feature in the Tesla,” said a news release issued Monday afternoon by Sgt. Sam Winkler, South Jordan Police Department.

“While Tesla’s autopilot feature indicates that a driver must be attentive at all times,
the driver admitted that she was looking at her phone prior to the collision.”

Investigators had suspected the car was in autopilot when they arrived at the scene, 10400 S. Bangerter Highway, at 6:30 p.m.

“Based upon witness information, the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision,” Winkler’s statement said. He previously told Gephardt Daily that the car was traveling at about 60 mph, the posted speed, when it struck the pickup.

“The driver of the Tesla was transported to a local hospital with a broken right foot. The driver of the Unified Fire Authority vehicle was checked for injuries related to whiplash; however, he was not taken to a hospital for evaluation.”

Winkler said the investigation is ongoing, and his department “is currently
working with technicians from Tesla to gather and review data stored within the vehicle, which may take several days.”

Winkler added that in a semi-autonomous vehicle, it is still the driver’s responsibility to “stay alert, drive safely, and be in control of the vehicle at all times.”

Federal officials said earlier on Monday that they are not investigating the crash. Federal officials have investigated at least two accidents in which Tesla crashed while in autopilot.

At least one fatal accident has been reported. An investigation attributed that accident to a failure of software.




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