A Tesla Model 3 was engaged in Autopilot when it rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut during the weekend, the Stamford Advocate initially reported on Saturday.
The driver informed police that he was looking at his dog in the backseat when his Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a cruiser, then continued to also strike a disabled vehicle.
Tesla has not commented yet about his incident.
Autopilot permits Tesla vehicles to steer, speed up and brake automatically within their lanes, and move into various lanes. However, Tesla states the system still needs “active driver supervision,” according to the company’s website. Incidents such as this one renew issues regarding the seriousness of Tesla to deal with the enforcement of safe use of the feature.
The crash took place early Saturday morning, police stated in a Facebook post after a state trooper stopped on I-95 in the city of Norwalk to help a disabled vehicle that was occupying the left-center lane. As the officers waited with the motorist of the disabled vehicle for a tow truck, the 2018 Tesla Model 3 with a license plate that read “MODEL3” crashed with the cars.
The motorist was provided a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving and reckless endangerment, police stated. No one was injured in the incident, though photos published by police on Facebook show substantial damage done to the Tesla as well as the police car.
The incident has revived issues regarding the safety of Tesla’s autopilot feature, which drivers have been documented to have crashed their vehicle by depending on them. Even though the company’s vehicle user manuals conveniently alerts drivers to stay attentive while driving and keep their hands on the steering wheel, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sometimes tells on Twitter by retweeting the videos portraying hands-free use of Autopilot. Some drivers have published videos that seem to show the driver asleep at the wheel while Autopilot was being used.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal posted on Twitter after the incident to call for regulation of Tesla’s Autopilot function.
Tesla’s Autopilot has been associated with crashes before. The feature was known to be engaged during three deadly crashes in the U.S., including a 2018 Model 3 crash in Delray Beach, Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal safety authority, is probing if Autopilot may have contributed to that Model 3 crash and how much.