Tesla has released the results of its Q4 2018 Vehicle Safety Report. Just like the company’s previous report in Q3 2018, Tesla released updated numbers for incidents that occurred both when Autopilot was engaged and when the driver-assist feature was deactivated.
Tesla released its first Vehicle Safety Report after the third quarter of 2018. During that period, the electric car maker registered one accident or crash-like event for every 3.34 million miles driven with Autopilot active, and one accident or crash-like event for every 1.92 million miles driven with Autopilot disengaged. During the time of the Q3 report’s publication, the NHTSA’s data noted that a car crash was recorded in the United States for every 492,000 miles driven.
In its Q4 2018 report, the company noted that its numbers include instances when its electric cars were hit by another object or vehicle. That said, here are the overall results of Tesla’s Q4 2018 Vehicle Safety Report.
“In the 4th quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.91 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot, we registered one accident for every 1.58 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 436,000 miles.”
It should be noted that the fourth quarter covered the winter months of 2018, which have less daylight and result in more challenging driving conditions. This generally causes more incidents for all types of vehicles, both electric and fossil fuel-powered. The NHTSA does not release quarterly statistics for car crashes, though a closer look at the agency’s GES database shows that a similar pattern (an uptick in incidents during the winter months) was exhibited in 2014 and 2015. The NHTSA’s data for 2016 is currently unavailable.
Tesla’s vehicles, thanks to their all-electric design, are among the safest cars on the road. Being made of ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum, Tesla’s vehicles are sturdy. The electric cars have extra large crumple zones as well due to their all-electric design. These, together with a combination of passive safety, active safety, and automated driver assistance, work hand in hand help Tesla’s vehicles attain their stellar safety ratings from agencies like the NHTSA.
Elon Musk’s statements about the safety of Tesla’s electric cars are not empty. After all, the company’s vehicles are known for their high ratings with agencies like the NHTSA. The Model 3 and the Model X have gained perfect 5-Star Safety Ratings, and the Model S infamously broke one of the agency’s crash testing gear when it was being tested due to its durability. Today, the Model 3, Model S, and Model X stand among the NHTSA’s vehicles with the lowest probability of injury during accidents.
In true Tesla fashion, though, the company continues to make improvements on its vehicles’ safety features, as teased in recent patent applications hinting at safer airbag deployment systems using seat sensors, and damage monitoring systems that could proactively warn drivers when a component needs service or repair.
Tesla’s Q4 2018 vehicle safety report can be accessed in full here.