Driver of Tesla says car was in autopilot when it crashed into FHP cruiser
ORLANDO, Fla. - Investigators say a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol was responding to a disabled car along Interstate 4 in Orlando, near the Ivanhoe Blvd. and Princeton St. exits, when a Tesla allegedly on autopilot mode crashed into both vehicles.
"The trooper had to jump out of the way in order to not be struck. After the impact, it swung around from the first impact and struck the second car.," says FHP Lt. Kim Montes.
Investigators say the driver told them she was in auto-pilot.
"She was not impaired and she did not appear to be tired or sleepy. She did tell the troopers that the Tesla was on auto-mode and that it didn’t move over," Lt. Montes explains.
According to FHP, there have been a dozen crashes like this one around the country involving patrol cars and Teslas that were in autopilot mode.
"We have heard of other types of exact incidents where a law enforcement vehicle with its lights activated, stationery has been struck by a Tesla."
Investigators plan to reach out to Tesla and see if the car was on autopilot at the time of the crash. We also reached out to Tesla but hear back before this story was published; however, on Tesla's website, it clearly states that current autopilot features "require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."
Lt. Montes says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also looking into this.
"I think we have to wait for more information to come in to see if this is truly an issue, or are these drivers just using this as an excuse."
As for the trooper in this scary crash, Montes says, "He told me that he was pretty unnerved. But luckily nobody was hurt -- a couple of scratches and bumps and bruises. And so our investigation continues."
FHP troopers say even if a car is on autopilot, a person still has to keep their hands on the wheel.
Investigators say the driver could face a careless driving infraction if the Tesla was not in autopilot mode.
This story is developing, check for updates.