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Footage Shows Officers Escape Crash Involving Tesla on Autopilot

A Tesla driving on autopilot

Newly released dashcam footage by the Nash County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina shows a sheriff’s deputy and a state trooper jumping to safety in the nick of time after a Tesla on Autopilot struck their parked cruiser.

According to a report by, the crash occurred in August 2020 when one of the Nash County sheriff’s deputies and a North Carolina State Trooper narrowly escaped serious injury.

Tesla on Autopilot: Driver Reportedly Distracted

Officials said the car’s driver was watching a movie at the time of the incident, with the Tesla on Autopilot mode. The deputy had stopped to assist the Trooper at the scene of an earlier accident when the Tesla with Autopilot engaged plowed into the back of the patrol unit. After clipping the officers, the cruiser hit a traffic sign and trees before stopping in a ditch as shown on dashcam footage. The driver of the Tesla was initially charged with not moving over for an emergency vehicle and distracted driving, but those charges have since been dropped, officials said.

The release of the dashcam footage comes days after Tesla announced that it would recall 53,822 vehicles because of its full self-driving (FSD) feature being programmed to slowly roll through stop signs in some instances. Neither FSD nor Autopilot, despite their misleading names, is a fully automated feature. They are merely driver-assist features. The automaker has said drivers still need to be attentive and be prepared to take over at a moment’s notice, even with the Tesla on Autopilot.

Ongoing Safety Concerns

In September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after several crashes in which drivers in Tesla vehicles have struck stopped emergency vehicles. These crashes have caused 17 injuries and one death so far. In October, a letter from NHTSA said the investigation would look into how Autopilot operates and how it recognizes obstacles in the roadway.

This is yet another example of how motorists get misled by Tesla’s driver-assist features. We have seen numerous examples of drivers operating while distracted, under the influence, or even while sleeping. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a Tesla on Autopilot or FSD crash, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and losses. An experienced auto defect expert can help you better understand your legal rights and options




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