Story at a glance

  • A Tesla on Autopilot collided with a parked patrol car in Washington state.
  • The driver told authorities he believed the vehicle would slow down and move to avoid the patrol car on its own.
  • No one was injured in the accident.

A Tesla vehicle that police say was operating in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked Washington state deputy’s patrol vehicle over the weekend. 

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department says a deputy parked on the shoulder of a road in a suburb north of Seattle Saturday to investigate a separate incident involving a car that crashed into a utility pole. 


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About 30 seconds later, a Tesla crashed into the patrol car that had its emergency lights flashing, causing “significant damage.” No one was injured in the accident. 

ABC News reports the driver of the Tesla told authorities he had the car’s Autopilot feature enabled and believed the vehicle would slow down and move to avoid the patrol car on its own. The driver was issued a citation for the accident. 

“Thankfully, there were no injuries from this collision. This is a great reminder that vehicles may have autopilot to assist, but it cannot be relied upon to get you safely from one destination to the next,” the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Monday

Tesla’s Autopilot feature allows the car to brake, accelerate and change lanes automatically, but the electric carmaker says driver supervision is required. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating more than two dozen accidents involving Tesla vehicles. At least three people have died in the U.S. in accidents involving the Autopilot feature, according to The Associated Press


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Published on May 18, 2021