According to a recent report by The Washington Post, there have been 736 crashes involving Tesla vehicles in Autopilot mode in the US since 2019, a significantly higher number than previously reported. These crashes, which have resulted in fatalities and serious injuries, highlight the risks associated with the increasing use of Tesla’s driver-assistance technology and the growing presence of these vehicles on the roads.
One such incident occurred in North Carolina, where a Tesla Model Y, allegedly in Autopilot mode, struck a teenager who had just stepped off a school bus. The crash left the teenager with a fractured neck and a broken leg.
The analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data also reveals that the number of deaths and serious injuries associated with Autopilot has significantly increased. In June 2022, only three deaths were conclusively linked to Tesla Autopilot mode. In a follow-up study a year later, 17 deaths were linked to the technology.
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed that Autopilot makes Tesla vehicles safer than those driven solely by humans, experts and critics argue that there are clear flaws in the technology. Many experts have blamed Musk personally for the rise in crashes because of his decision to remove radar sensors from vehicles with Autopilot mode.
Tesla recalled over 360,000 vehicles in February due to concerns that the Full Self-Driving software was causing the vehicles to disregard traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limits. Tesla claims to have resolved the issues by deploying a software update over the air.
Tesla and Elon Musk have not responded to requests for comment on The Washington Post article.
In light of this report, it’s clear that the US needs far more stringent regulations on Tesla Autopilot mode. It might even be time to consider banning the technology altogether.