Tesla is facing scrutiny after a tragic accident involving a 2019 Model S vehicle occurred over the weekend near Houston. The two people in the car were fatally wounded and identified as males aged 59 and 69 years old.
The vehicle was apparently driving at a high speed before running off the road and hitting a tree, at which point it burst into flames. Rumors have been rife claiming it took 4 hours to put the fire out and that emergency responders had to call Tesla to find out how to extinguish the fire that kept reigniting. The Tesla New York community group:
Fire Chief Buck, Woodlands FD: “Rumors grew way out of control. It did not take us 4 hours to put out the blaze. Our guys got there & put down the fire within 2-3 minutes … We did not (call #Tesla), & I do not know where (that rumor) came from.”
With reports claiming that nobody was driving the vehicle when it crashed, a Tesla fan took to Twitter to clear the air.
“This doesn’t make sense. There are safety measures in place with the autopilot Seat is weighted to make sure there is a driver & hands must be on steering wheel every 10 seconds or it disengages. Autopilot doesn’t go over the speed limits over limit is impossible... Research pls”
Tesla’s Technoking, Elon Musk took the opportunity to appreciate the input by saying: “Your research as a private individual is better than professionals. Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD. Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”
So, it can be disputed that the 2 men in the car were not playing around with Autopilot or FSD, the $10,000 add-on feature that is being tested by selected drivers.
There is a lot of hype over the accident, which as tragic as it is, has unfairly caused Tesla sceptics to jump on the negative marketing bandwagon pointing fingers at the US manufacturer. The accident has also initiated a preliminary investigation because of reports that one of the victims was sitting in the passenger seat while the second person was sitting in the back.
Even if the car had driver assistance turned on, Tesla has been vocal with its disclaimers that drivers have to always be alert and in control of the vehicle. But this is not stopping the hysteria around authorities questioning the safety of driverless cars. The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Transit Safety Administration have requested search warrants issued to get secure data reported from the vehicle involved in the fatal accident.
April 20 has taken on a whole new meaning for the Tesla community who have dubbed the date as Elon Musk Day. Tesla fans have promoted the modern event on social media to mark the day as a celebration to the real life Iron Man.
Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley, Tesla Owners of East Bay, Tesla Owners of Austin, Tesla Owners Online, Drive Tesla Canada, and EV.Energy are just some of the clubs and companies joining in the unofficial day of praise. As the Tesla Owners of Austin so aptly described it, "A man dedicated to saving Earth and preserving the light of consciousness. Celebrating him, not when he’s gone, but while he’s here with us."