A Tesla on Autopilot Crashed Into Highway Patrol Car

The crash occurred days after federal regulators announced a probe into this very type of crash.
August 30, 2021, 2:47pm
crashed FHP vehicle
Credit: Florida Highway Patrol
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
Moveable explores the future of transportation, infrastructure, energy, and cities.

A Tesla reportedly on Autopilot crashed into a stationary police vehicle with its emergency lights on early Saturday morning in Orlando, just days after federal regulators announced an investigation into this type of crash.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the crash occurred around 5 a.m. on I-4 near downtown Orlando. The police officer had stopped to help a disabled vehicle and the Tesla crashed into it. The police vehicle then crashed into the disabled vehicle. The Tesla "narrowly missed" the trooper, Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson Kim Montes told the Sentinel. The two drivers sustained minor injuries and the officer was not hurt.

According to the press release issued by FHP, the 26-year-old Tesla driver said Autopilot was activated at the time of the crash.

Either way, the description of the crash fits with previous instances of Teslas crashing into emergency vehicles, the subject of a recently announced National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation. NHTSA is looking into 11 confirmed cases where a Tesla on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control crashed into an emergency vehicle parked on the side of a road, typically at night, and with the first responders using some kind of high visibility warning like flashing lights, flares, or road cones. The 11 crashes resulted in 17 injuries and one death. FHP Lieutenant Kim Montes told Motherboard FHP’s fleet manager is reaching out to NHTSA today and the crash remains under investigation.

Update: This article has been updated with a response from FHP that confirmed the Tesla driver told police the car was on Autopilot at the time of the crash.