Tesla driver blames self-driving mode for pile-up on SF Bay Bridge

Tesla driver blames self-driving tech for eight-car pile-up on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge that left a child in hospital – after vehicle stopped suddenly in middle of the road

  • Thanksgiving Day crash hampered Bay Bridge traffic and sent two to the hospital
  • The crash occurred as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates Tesla’s self-driving programs and considers a possible recall
  • The Department of Transportation sub-agency opened the investigation after 16 Tesla crashes were reported 

A Tesla driver has blamed self-driving tech for an eight-car pile-up on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Thanksgiving – claiming the software malfunctioned. 

The accident, which occurred at around 12.40pm on Thursday, November 24, resulted in two people – including one child – being rushed to hospital. A further 16 people were treated at the scene for injuries. None were life-threatening.

According to a CNN report, video of the incident shows the Tesla changing lanes and coming to a stop in the middle of the road, causing a dangerous traffic jam that hampered the flow of traffic for hours.

Some users of Tesla’s self-driving features complain that the brakes are sometimes triggered ‘without warning’ and ‘at random’

Four ambulances were called to the scene and two lanes were shut down for about 90 minutes.

The accident occurred only hours after Elon Musk announced that the company’s ‘full self-driving’ software was available to anyone in North America who requested it.

Previously, it had been offered exclusively to drivers with high safety scores on its internal rating system.

Drivers are warned when they install the program that it ‘may do the wrong thing at the worst time.’ The program requires an attentive human driver prepared to take full control of the wheel at a moment’s notice.

According to the traffic crash report, the Tesla Model S driver told the California Highway Patrol they’d been traveling as about 55mph and shifted into the left lane when the car’s self-driving technology suddenly opted to brake.

On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will send a team to investigate the crash.

The CHP previously said it could not confirm whether the full ‘self-driving’ software was active at the time of the crash and Tesla would have that information.

Reports of the holiday crash arrive as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is already investigating Tesla’s driver-assisting programs due to multiple reports of braking that happens ‘at random’ and ‘without warning.’

Some have complained the brakes unexpectedly deploy ‘repeatedly during a single drive.’

The Thanksgiving Day San Francisco crash occurred just hours after CEO Elon Musk announced the ‘full self-driving’ would be available to all North American Tesla drivers, not just people with high safety scores

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in the midst of probing Tesla over its self-driving technology following a series of crashes and hundreds of safety complaints from Tesla drivers

An image from the Thanksgiving Day pile up that shut down Bay Bridge traffic in San Francisco around lunchtime. The accident included as many as eight vehicles

CNN noted that the agency has received hundreds of complaints from Tesla drivers, some of whom have described near crashes and ongoing safety concerns.

This past summer, the agency upgraded its probe to a so-called engineering analysis, which indicates it may be seriously considering a recall. 

The NHTSA opened its investigation after 16 crashes involving Teslas.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has also accused Tesla of false advertisement of its ‘Autopilot’ feature. 

The California DMV remains in its discovery stage for the ultimate proceeding. 

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