"Full self driving" was not involved.
There has been plenty of controversy over the supposed self-driving ability of Tesla's cars. Although some continue to blame the automaker for the Autopilot name, a recurring theme in numerous Tesla crashes is a total lack of understanding from the drivers.
Nevertheless, despite the feds concluding that Tesla drivers don't even know the difference between the brake and the accelerator, Elon Musk's company continues to come under scrutiny whenever a Tesla crashes. Fortunately for Musk, the most recent crash is quite clearly the result of poor driving and is unlikely to create too much bad publicity for the brand.
What you're looking at here is a Tesla Model 3, or what's left of one, after it struck a broken-down tractor-trailer on Route 1 in New Jersey. Why didn't Autopilot intervene? After all, we've seen that the system generally errs on the side of caution rather than take risks in most cases. Well, the driver says that he was using the regular cruise control and wasn't paying attention. Business Insider reports that police were told by the driver, a 44-year-old man from Baltimore, that he had the cruise control on "when he momentarily lost focus on the roadway."
Yes, that means that the only occupant in this horrific crash survived with only minor injuries, but again, it highlights that ignorance or just bad driving habits are more dangerous than just about any self-driving software.
The police have concluded that the driver was distracted at the time of the crash and that the car is not to blame. Police chief Raymond Hayducks says, "This crash could easily have been fatal, and easily have been prevented if the driver was paying attention."
NHTSA came to a similar conclusion, telling reporters that "the agency has decided not to launch a Special Crash Investigation team to investigate the crash at this time." We're glad that Tesla isn't coming under fire again, but for the love of yourself and everyone around you - no matter what car you drive - please keep your eyes on the road.