Yesterday an accident in Minnesota involving Tesla Autopilot resulted in a Tesla Model S rolling upside down over a road and ending up facing the sky in a marsh.
Since the accident, the driver of the Tesla Model S, David Clark, has blamed Tesla’s Autopilot, according to the local Sheriff’s Department.
Clark now states that his view of the accident is no longer to blame on Tesla after calming down since the accident and talking to the other passengers.
Originally the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office was directly blaming the Autopilot for the crash but an updated news release has clarified that they were reporting on the information obtained from the driver.
The newly updated report states the following, “Clark stated that when he engaged the autopilot feature that the vehicle suddenly accelerated causing the car to leave the roadway and overturn.”
Kandiyohi County Sheriffs say that Clark said that he was “shook up” after the crash and didn’t intend to blame Autopilot.
Clark now states that he is aware that he is responsible for the vehicle even when Autopilot was activated. However, now he said that he thinks that the Autopilot wasn’t even on when the crash occurred.
Clark's new statement says that, “To the best of my recollection I had engaged the autopilot system but then I had disengaged it by stepping on accelerator. I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel. That was the feeling that I was trying to describe to you that I had lost control of the vehicle. The next thing I know tall grass is whipping past the windshield and we were traveling at an odd angle in the ditch and then flipped over the right side and ended up on the roof.”
Clark finally added he was “truly thankful for the safety features that Tesla had put into this car that saved all 5 of them from serious injury.”
Deputy Quin Pomplun of the Sheriff's Department responded to Clark’s initial email saying that he was under the impression that Clark was first blaming the Autopilot after the crash, but now the Sheriff's Department will be adding his new explanation to the report.
Initially, some Tesla drivers have been quick to blame the Autopilot for crashes since Tesla introduced the feature.
There have been multiple cases where drivers have spoken of “sudden acceleration” which resulted in accidents where Tesla vehicles crashed into businesses. For example, a Model S crashed into a gym in Florida and a Model X crashed into a beauty salon in California.
In most of those reported cases, Tesla was able to pull the data logs from the car and show that the driver, not the Autopilot, who is always responsible for controlling the vehicle even when it's on Autopilot, was actually to blame for either ignoring alerts or warnings from the system or not keeping their hands on the steering wheel while the car was in motion.
In one particular case, a third-party reviewed the vehicle logs and confirmed Tesla’s version of the accident. Seemingly drivers are simply passing the blame onto Tesla when in fact Tesla is not responsible for the driver's carelessness.
While Tesla wasn’t able to retrieve the logs in this particular case, it looks like Autopilot is no longer the source of the blame.