A United States Senator who has been vocal about his opposition to Tesla’s Autopilot software is doubling down after a driver utilizing the driver-assist feature in his Model 3 rear-ended a police cruiser in Connecticut on the evening of Dec. 7, 2019.
Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has been vocal regarding his discontent for the alleged “flawed system” Tesla Autopilot offers to drivers. After The Today Show reported the recent accident on its Twitter account, Sen. Markey responded with his thoughts.
“Autopilot clearly can’t be allowed to replace drivers on our roads. This tech will continue causing harm until Tesla takes action to fix its flawed system and make sure drivers are paying attention. That’s why I sent a letter demanding Tesla take action to protect the public,” Markey wrote on Twitter.
According to police, the accident happened because the Model 3 driver was checking on his dog at the backseat. Thus, the Tesla driver was unable to use the driver-assist system in an appropriate manner.
In late November, Sen. Markey called for Autopilot to be disabled because some drivers were falling asleep behind the wheel while the software was active. It should be noted that Tesla has never encouraged drivers to take their attention off the road when utilizing Autopilot. The company has taken numerous steps to decrease the possibility of this happening by adding safety features to the software. Tesla’s official website emphasizes this point, reminds owners that “while using Autopilot, it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, and maintain control of your car.”
Tesla has added features to stop the vehicle from driving if it senses the person controlling the car is not paying attention to the road. If the person operating the vehicle does not hold the steering wheel for an extended period of time, Autopilot will disable itself. Autosteer will also be disabled for the remainder of the trip, forcing the driver to operate the vehicle normally.
Autopilot is responsible for Tesla’s reputation for being involved in accidents over six and a half times less often than a traditional vehicle.