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Tesla on autopilot crashes into police car

Story at a glance

  • Michigan State Police said a 22-year-old man driving a Tesla Model Y with the car’s Autopilot engaged crashed into the back of a troopers vehicle.
  • The incident prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to send a special crash investigation unit to carry out a probe of the accident.
  • The electric vehicle maker’s Autopilot system allows the cars to brake, accelerate and steer automatically, among other capabilities, but Tesla says the feature does not make the car fully autonomous.

U.S. safety regulators are investigating a crash involving a Tesla that was reportedly operating in Autopilot and struck a stationary police car. 

Michigan State Police said a 22-year-old man driving a Tesla Model Y with the car’s advanced driver-assistance system, or Autopilot, engaged crashed into the back of a troopers vehicle near Lansing at 1:12 a.m. Wednesday. 


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Police at the time were pulled over with their emergency lights on investigating a crash between a separate vehicle and a deer. There were no injuries, and the driver was issued citations for failure to move over and driving with a suspended license, according to Michigan State Police. 

The incident prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to send a special crash investigation unit to carry out a probe of the accident. 

“Consistent with NHTSA’s vigilant oversight and robust authority over the safety of all motor vehicles and equipment, including automated technologies, we have launched a Special Crash Investigation team to investigate the crash,” a NHTSA spokesperson told Changing America. 

The agency is also investigating a crash involving a Tesla that occurred last week in Detroit, although local law enforcement officials said they didn’t believe the Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of that crash, according to The Wall Street Journal

The NHTSA is also investigating an accident that occurred last month north of Houston, where officials are still reviewing whether the Autopilot feature was active. 

The electric vehicle maker’s Autopilot system allows the cars to brake, accelerate and steer automatically, among other capabilities, but Tesla says the feature does not make the car fully autonomous and that it still requires driver supervision. 

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Changing America.


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