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Tesla driver says she slammed into fire truck on Autopilot

16 May 2018

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) will pause production at its California factory for six days at the end of the May to work on fixes to its assembly line for its new Model 3 sedan, sources inside the company told Reuters.

The driver of a Tesla electric auto which crashed into the back of a fire engine on Saturday says she had the vehicle's semi-autonomous Autopilot mode engaged and was looking at her phone when the accident occurred.

CEO Elon Musk has publicly derided reporting on the incident as unfair, pointing out how many people are killed in crashes while driving traditional cars.

A Tesla Model S sedan was traveling at 60 miles (97 km) per hour when it smashed into a fire truck stopped at a red light about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday night, according to police. Witnesses said the vehicle "did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision" but the driver has since admitted to police that she had been looking at her phone prior to the collision. The driver of the fire truck was evaluated for whiplash but was not checked into the hospital.

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The tech tycoon went on to praise the safety of the Model S, saying that it was "amazing" the driver only broke her ankle in the accident and that "an impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death".

"Tesla has not yet received any data from the vehicle and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, including whether Autopilot was engaged", a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday. Following the accident, and much consumer outcry over the safety of autonomous vehicles, Uber and Waymo advocated to have legislation passed that would quickly expand self-driving vehicle testing.

U.S. police said it was unknown if the car's autopilot feature was on at the time. The 18 year-old driver slammed into a concrete wall, and the vehicle burst into flames, trapping the occupants inside.

Newest crash also linked to Tesla's Autopilot system.

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"Even in the owners manual for the Tesla ... it says that they're semi-autonomous and the driver must still be aware of the road at all times, be attentive to the road, and be in physical control at all times in case of the need to take evasive maneuvers", Winkler said. It was the latest accident involving a Tesla.

Matthew Schwall, who also served as manager in Tesla, left the company at a time when the National Transportation Security Board was investigating a number of electric vehicle accidents.

"The system worked as described, which is that it's a hands-on system".

"It certainly needs to be better and we work to improve it every day, but flawless is the enemy of good", Musk tweeted.

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Tesla driver says she slammed into fire truck on Autopilot