This guy is not alone.
No matter how advanced, technology is not always perfect. Such is the case of the Tesla Autopilot system. Described as an "advanced driver-assistance system feature," Autopilot is not full-on self-driving technology. When engaged, the driver must still pay attention to the road in front of them. Not all drivers completely understand this rather simple concept often resulting in serious accidents. Like this one in Connecticut.
The Connecticut State Police describe the incident on its official Facebook page, complete with some photos. Here's what happened: early in the morning of December 7, the Model 3 wearing Connecticut plates reading "MODEL3" was traveling on Interstate 95 when it struck a CSP Ford Taurus Interceptor from behind. The officer had stopped on the side of the road near the city of Norwalk to investigate a disabled motor vehicle.
The trooper's vehicle had its emergency lights activated and flares were also placed behind them to warn oncoming traffic. As they were waiting for the tow truck, the 2018 Model 3 struck the cruiser's rear end and continued striking the disabled vehicle. How did this happen?
The Model 3's driver had activated Autopilot and was not watching the road in front of him as he should have. Instead, he was checking on his dog in the rear seat. Although the photos show a disturbing aftermath, there were no serious injuries. The dog was also okay. The Tesla driver, however, was issued with a misdemeanor summons for Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment.
This accident could have easily been avoided if the Model 3 driver properly understood how Autopilot works. Tesla has stated its ultimate goal is to offer full self-driving, but the technology is simply not there yet. Despite Autopilot system upgrades, it remains imperfect, though it is helpful when situations such as lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and self-parking are desired.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has also made clear that despite some vehicles, such as Teslas, offering automated driving capabilities, there are currently zero vehicles available that are fully automated. Some Tesla owners and anyone else driving a vehicle with similar tech must be reminded of this.