Tesla’s Autopilot was not engaged when an accident involving a Tesla Model 3 and a train occurred. The crash, according to the investigation, was due to driver error and fortunately, the owner of that Tesla Model 3 was unharmed.
According to police, the owner of a Tesla Model 3 struck an oncoming Amtrak Train, yet the damage to the vehicle was minor. The crash is still under investigation.
The accident took place at an Amtrak crossing. In a statement that was aired on WWJ 950 yesterday, Lieutenant Robert Wilkie with the Westland Police Department said,
“We observed there to be very minor damage. It doesn’t appear that the car was far enough in front of the train to cause serious injury that’s usually consistent with a train versus car accident. The driver of the Tesla complained of minor injury and was examined at the scene but declined transportation for any further medical treatments.”
Lieutenant Wilkie also added that the Amtrak train engineer stopped at the scene and that none of the train’s passengers suffered any injuries.
According to the National Safety Council Injury Facts, there were a total of 893 railroad deaths in 2021 which was a 20% increase from the 2020 revised total of 744. Last year’s statistics are the highest since 2007. Nonfatal injuries increased 4% from 2020 with a total of 5,781.
An idea for Tesla’s engineering team for basic Autopilot is to include recognition of an oncoming train and to alert the driver. Tesla’s life-saving Autopilot feature was an idea sparked by a tragic story that Elon Musk heard about and felt moved to do something about. Although he couldn’t bring that person back from the dead, Tesla could create a life-saving technology that would prevent tragic accidents.
“One of the things that really convinced me that we need to go as fast as possible with autonomy was that we had a Tesla owner in the Bay Area fall asleep at the wheel and ran over a cyclist and killed the cyclist,” Elon told me in my interview with him.
“I was like, ‘well if that car had been on Autopilot, that cyclist would still be alive. So we’ve got to hustle and make Autopilot work.”
You can read more about Elon’s inspiration behind the creation of Tesla’s Autopilot here.
Note: Johnna is a Tesla shareholder and supports its mission.