Were Tesla crash deaths preventable
John Goreham's picture

Deaths in Tesla Model S crash might have been prevented by common safety system

This weekend at least three people were killed in a Toyota Corolla when a driver in a Tesla Model S rear-ended them. Could a safety feature found on most cars in the Tesla’s price range, but not on Teslas, have prevented the tragedy?
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This past weekend two children ages 8 and 13 were killed while in their seatbelts when a Tesla Model S rear ended their family’s Toyota Corolla. At least one adult was also killed. Two others in the struck vehicle were badly burned. What makes this tragedy newsworthy is that the accident might not have been fatal if the Tesla had come with forward crash prevention technology available on many family cars. Tesla does not offer this safety system, nor does it offer many other commonplace vehicle safety systems.

Tesla Doesn’t Have These Safety Systems
For reasons unknown, Tesla does not use any form of forward crash prevention technology. Price and cost are not factors. The best system of this type tested by the Insurance Institute for Highways Safety (IIHS) is not on an expensive sport-luxury car like the $70K to $130K Tesla, but rather on the very affordable Subaru Outback. IIHS considers the system so important it won’t even consider vehicles without it for their highest safety rating, the Top Safety Pick Plus designation. Thus the Tesla could not even qualify. Many cars costing a third the price of the Model S have earned this rating.

How Forward Crash Prevention Systems Save Lives
Forward crash prevention systems don’t always have to stop a vehicle from hitting another to help. In fact, some are not even designed to entirely prevent an impact. Rather, they are designed to slow the approaching car to lessen the severity of the impact. This allows the cars in the accident to use their passive safety systems, such as crumple zones and seat belts, to full effect.

This Type of Tesla Crash Was Predicted
This report is not a “20-20 hindsight” report. We predicted this might happen. Over the past year Torque News has published multiple stories about the Tesla Model S’ lack of a forward collision prevention system, lack of a lane keeping system, and lack of a driver alert system. The LA Times also raised the issue of Tesla’s lack of crash mitigation technology in the past. In a related story just one month ago, we detailed how aluminum vehicles combined with forward crash prevention technology might save your life in a crash. We carefully explained why the velocity of a vehicle hitting another is much more important that its mass (weight). In a positive way we dove deep into the issue, using the new 2015 Ford F-150 as the example.

Tesla Markets Its Model S as the Safest Car
We wish to point out that Tesla markets the Model S as the world’s safest car. In the past it has highlighted this on its website. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and leader, has said that cars can be as safe as the Model S, but not safer. It is true that the Model S does protect its occupants very well. Although it has never been tested by the IIHS, which conducts the US’ most rigorous safety evaluations, it has done very well in the US government’s (NHTSA) testing.

Is keeping the occupant in the Tesla alive the only concern? Of course it is not. In fact, besides the three dead, the two critically injured people in this crash, and their families, the driver of the Model S may be the person who will now suffer the greatest from this possibly preventable tragedy. Police and news reports say that all the people in the Corolla were properly belted. They go on to say that the driver in the Tesla is not suspected of being impaired.

This story, including the issue of safety systems, is not being reported by the mainstream media. Disappointingly, the electric vehicle advocacy media is also ignoring the Tesla safety systems issue, and they do understand it. Some EV fans will read this report and call it more Tesla bashing. Hopefully, some others will read this viewpoint and start asking why a car that costs so much, which is marketed as the safest car available, does so little to prevent avoidable accidents like this one.

Note: In order to keep this story focused on the topic of forward crash prevention and driver alert systems we have opted not to delve into the gruesome details of the crash. Those interested can read the local news report here. We wish to warn you the story is upsetting.

Related Stories:
Three common safety features Tesla Model S must add now
Stolen Tesla Model S crashes and burns in spectacular fashion
Lexus IS outscores rivals on IIHS Front Crash Prevention test

Still Image and video courtesy of Loudlabs News, and Youtube.com


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Comments

Pretty hard to argue against any of your points. In my active career, I was involved with several automotive safety systems, and I remember how it sometimes took an incident to get a management team focused on the need for improvements. There in nothing evil going on; it is just where things come on the list of priorities. Thus, I feel certain that Tesla - as of an hour ago - has accelerated their efforts to add a some or all of the features you highlighted. After all, they seem to have done many, many things very well in their design. We have an S on order, and I am hopeful that some of these improvements will make it into our car before delivery. Thanks for being so vocal. Ed Hart
Government safety officials should also investigate and study the Tesla crashes. The Tesla & it's driver rear-ended a car, killed three people and set their car on fire burning them alive. There should be transparencies & honesty in the studies & investigations. Tesla needs to be more transparent & honest. Tesla needs to stop cherry picking, spinning & suppressing information that shows safety problems with Tesla. Tesla needs to start making safety a top priority. "Safest" & "highest rated" car keeps catching fire, exploding, injuring people and killing people. Tesla is known to have many safety problems that may have contributed to these deaths & fiery crashs. Tesla is known to have problems with the brakes. Tesla's cockpit layout & controls have been scrutinized for safety concerns. Tesla drivers have often had problems operating the controls. Tesla drivers are often get used to the regen braking, thus become unfamiliar and uncoordinated with using friction brakes. In panic braking situations, Tesla drivers often don't respond properly. The displays can also contribute to driver inattention. How did the thieves steal the car that crashed in West Hollywood? Didn't the Tesla service center secure the keys? Did thieves find a security vulnerability to exploit? Do Tesla's have security exploits that make them easy to steal? If Tesla really cared about safety, it would make its cars harder to steal. I think the high-speed pursuit & crashes were reckless and unnecessary. Didn't the Tesla have GPS tracking enabled? If so law enforcement could have intercepted the thieves which would have likely been a lot more safe, then a high-speed pursuit. Tesla needs to make public safety a higher priority, it should cooperate more with law-enforcement and emergency responders. If safety was a top priority of Tesla's, they would have a secure way to wirelessly disable their vehicles, if the vehicles are reported stolen or fleeing from police at high speed. Simply disable the drive unit, so the vehicle coasts to a stop, When the vehicle stops engage the parking brakes. In most cases that ought to be much more safe, then a high-speed pursuit. It would probably save lives & property. Tesla needs to catch up with technology, it is lagging behind. Tesla needs to make safety a top priority. The stolen Tesla crashed disintegrated and erupted into an inferno, with explosions, shrapnel and toxic fumes. The Tesla's drive battery broke into several burning pieces. Battery cells were exploding spreading fire and toxic fumes. The exploding batteries were shooting up in the air about 60 feet like roman candles, but with toxic fumes. Tesla should work to make its batteries safer. The Tesla crash put the public and emergency responders at risk. Modern metal light poles, are typically designed to breakaway during a high-energy accident. So the fact that the Tesla split in two, suggests that the Tesla has a structural weakness. In real-world conditions, Teslas kill people, injure people, suddenly quit, brakes fail, catch fire, explode, etc. yet Tesla fan boys say that is safe. The facts prove that Tesla is unsafe. No wonder Tesla is nicknamed the Toaster. A Tesla killed three people in this crash, yet Tesla fan boys are spamming comments claiming it is safe. Tesla fan boys have no respect for the dead, public safety, truth or science.
Jim, you've been spamming every related article with anti-Tesla slander. Please act like a grown up and give it a rest already. This tragedy could have happened with any vehicle. Condolences to the family :(
Robert, you may be right that some commenters come with an agenda they wish to further and don't give the topic serious consideration. Do you honestly believe that if instead of the Tesla, the car that struck the Corolla was a Mazda 3 with its forward collision prevention system, that the results would have been the same? Physics and real world testing suggest otherwise. The Mazda 3 is a green car (42 MPG in our testing) with half the mass of the Tesla and would likely have had its velocity reduced significantly prior to impact by the technology the Tesla lacks. "Could happen with any other vehicle" smacks of "look away, nothing to see here..." Just as some other comments might be interpreted as "Tesla is unsafe at any speed."
Agreed, a forward collision prevention system could have prevented or reduced the severity of this accident. But of the two billion cars on the roads worldwide, think how few actually have this system (less than 0.01%?). The list of possible safety features a car may have is massive. Manufacturers are under no liberty to implement them all.
Robert's comment made a good point back in 2014, but now, just two years later, nearly every new 2017 Toyota has this system. Every trim, on 28 of 30 models. At no extra charge. Boy, that was quick!
THE TESLA ROADSTER IS ACTUALLY AN INCREDIBLE UNSAFE CAR. THO IT IS NOW DISCONTINUED I HAVE PERSONALLY KNOWN 4 PEOPLE WHO FATALLY DIED IN A TESLA CAR CRASH. THE OPEN ROOF, 300 HP ON TAP, AND 2500 LB ARE A PERFECT RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
The Model S is NOT as safe as they are making out. The Aluminum panels shatter into jagged shards in an impact. There have been several incidents in which the entire rear suspension fell off the car while it was in motion. In Norway there is an investigation into the many reports of poor braking performance and of the brake pedals falling to the floor. Example: Ebilforum Norway TODAY! ebbrey Goldmember A: Bad brakes « Reply # 162 on: Today at. 7:19 » Experienced for the first time the other day zero braking effect. The car was cold had been the work day without recharging and had zero regen. Come down a hill in 40-50 against a roundabout pressed into brake a little, some resistance in 2-3 cm so just shook pedal and went completely to bottom. Got little freaked and tried pump but still went straight to the bottom 2-3 times. As there was no other option than to gander at to avoid bonustap. Jaggu important routine check that things work. Hyper Stress Goldmember A: Bad brakes « Reply # 163 on: Today at. 11:14 » I also experienced 2-3S almost no brakes on both previous Tesla, as well as new Tesla with electromechanical booster HOLY CARP!. It then occurred after the vehicle has been washed. TMS85 - Sold. New TMS85 Delivered Dec14
Thank you for your comment Keef. Normally, I try to stay out of the comments, but I think that saying "The aluminum panels shatter into jagged shards" weakens your point. Feel free to include a link showing the results you describe. It seems a little ridiculous. The braking issues you talk about I have seen discussed other places and seem to be an issue for correction.
Tesla have been warned repeatedly that the Model S brakes are defective. They chose to sweep the problem under the carpet. Defective brakes THE SMOKING GUN Dr. Bob Reinke | 26 MARS 2014 Have several times complained to the Chicago service center about this life threatening problem and been told that the brakes will always disable and overcome the the go-peddle. There are several problems with this false statement: I have tested the sequence on my P85 and found that if you are on the brake and enable the go peddle, the car goes. If you have enough brake peddle left, you can slow the car. The reason I say, "Enough brake peddle left," is because my brake peddle fades to the floor in about 5 to 20 seconds, depending on the previous brake use. The fading is worst in heavy stop and go traffic. The brake and go-peddle have a little over an inch side clearance in my Tesla and I can normally stop the car with my foot 7/8 on the brake peddle; however, that leaves enough of my size 10s hanging off the brake peddle, and over the go-peddle. Enough to depress the go-peddle when the leaking brakes bleed down to allow my shoe to engage the go-peddle. At that point, pressing harder on the floored brake peddle only depresses the go-peddle harder. With no further brake force, the Tesla rockets into whatever is in front of you. when complaining about this problem at the Chicago service center, I was told that the Model S brakes don't bleed down. I found that the brakes in 6 of the 10 cars in for service all bled to the floor in less than 20 seconds. Then I was told that I was pressing too hard. How hard does Tesla think the driver is going to depress the brakes while it is charging into the rear of the car in front of him. The unexpected acceleration is caused by several Tesla faults: The close proximity of the use diametrically opposed peddles---My 56 Oldsmobile had about 7 inches between. Perhaps they were smarter then? The brakes under NHTSA are supposed to override the throttle. Tesla brakes leak-down making them worthless, and let the shoe push the go-peddle. The Gong is ineffective because it sounds incessently over inconsequential alarms. Who is listening for a gong while your car is pushing the car ahead of you into the car in front of him. I now drive wothout shoes, so I can feel my foot on the break, or touching the go-peddle. The right fix would be to move the peddles, or perhaps make the return spring on the go beddle stiffer to telegraph to your shoe it is on it; however, if Tesla is too cheep to fix the peddles the cheaper fix is a keyboard stroke to properly softwear shut-down the go-peddle while the brake peddle is off the home proximiry switch. I was told by the service tech that the brake always overrides the go peddle. Then he held the brake while he floored the go peddle, the rear of the Tesla humped up like a bull in heat and burned two black marks under the rear tires. Just like my Toyota did before the fix. Then he said that the brakes actually reduced the power of the drive motors. Obviously, it didn't reduce the power enough to prevent the Model S from taking off after the brake peddle bled to the floor in stopped traffic. Perhaps the most relavant question should be can Elon afford to pay 4 billion dollar penalty (GM) for failing to respond to a clear safety problem? All the ridicule and smart remarks on this thread only iritate and resolve nothing of the problem. Apparently, those who are having the Uncontrolled Acceleration problem are the only who understand the danger. Undoubtedly, there are the smart elete reading this who can never make a mistake, who will pick this entry apart, and solve nothing--but that prevents no deaths caused by an easily softwear mended malfunction. The fix costs is so little to save one life Dozens more similar complaints from owners. It's a disgusting scandal that children had to die before anything was done to fix the problem. Recall this death machine NOW before other innocent lives are lost.
Since you mention it, John - the Eyesight that is available on the Subaru Forester is still Gen 1, and basically adds about $800 to the cost of the car. (The All Weather Package on a Premium Forester adds $500 to the MSRP - the bundle of AWP plus Eyesight adds $1295.) The Eyesight on the 2015 Legacy and Outback is Gen 2, and on the Premium Legacy is available in a bundle with Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert for $1295. (The Outback adds $1695, because it also adds in the power rear lift gate.) So we're talking $26,362 MSRP for a nicely equipped 2015 Premium (cloth seats) Legacy - WITH Eyesight. I realize that Eyesight may not have prevented the collision - but as the IIHS points out, it should reduce the collision from, say, a 40 mph crash to a 15 mph crash - and guess what? It MIGHT have prevented this crash.
I appreciate this comment most because as you point out, affordable cars are now on their second generation of this potentially life saving technology. Tesla still does not have any version.
I cannot believe the hypocrisy going on in both this article and some of the replies below. There are 200,000+ auto fires causes by crashes reported in the United States. Yet, Tesla has three or four of its cars involved in crashes resulting in fire and the entire world of Fossil Fuel Paid Trolls run out and dump on Tesla, like it was producing something equivalent to the 1970s era Ford Pinto. Remember, the Ford Pinto, with its "exploding gas tanks?" Of course, you don't. The reason the Model S has not been tested by IIHS is because IHSS had decided not to. Tesla, has requested IIHS testing (to include the Small Overlap Test) multiple times. You will have to ask IIHS why it refuses to test the Tesla Model S. What are they afraid of? Are they afraid of having to give the Model S, their coveted Safety Pick + designation based on the outstanding NHTSA crash test results that Tesla and its Model S obtained? In all Model S accidents, not one Tesla owner/driver was fatally wounded or even seriously injured. Is Tesla, now responsible for Thieves and their law breaking behavior? The Tesla driver was at fault for rear-ending another vehicle, but that would be the case regardless of which vehicle the Tesla rear-ended. When you rear-end someone, you will 99.99% of the time be deemed "at fault." Regarding this so-called "Forward Crash Prevention Technology" that Tesla allegedly refuses to implement in their vehicles. No matter what you call it: Intelligent Break Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, etc., the DRIVER is ALWAYS the best "Safety Device" in the vehicle. Following too closely (less than 1 vehicle lengths distance from the vehicle directly in front of you, for ever 10 mph that your vehicle is traveling) is something that I am 100% the writer of this article did on his way to work today and will be something that he does on his way home after work today. 90% - 97% of drivers on U.S. roads today are not just Tailgaters but CHRONIC TAILGATERS and should be cited by law enforcement and dealt with severely. Tailgating is the Number #1 cause of crashes and it drastically decreases safety margins at ANY speed (highway or street driving). No automobile manufacturer should be held responsible for Chronic Tailgaters. Those people need to be taken off the road, but if you did that - nobody in the United States of America would be driving. You would shrink traffic down to 10% its normal density, if you took car of all the CHRONIC TAILGATERS. Lastly, I'm not arguing that installing a Radar coupled to a Camera in the front of a vehicle and then designing an algorithm to slow the vehicle down to reduce the impulse force of an imminent collision is not a good idea. In fact, it is a wonderful progressive safety feature that all automobiles should have. I am 100% behind any effort to reduce collisions and no one should be against that. But, to sit here and pontificate on the physics behind this particular collision and then take the leap of faith in logic to conclude that "if" this particular Model S had anti-frontal collision technology, that the occupants of the Toyota, would not have suffered fatal injuries, is way over the top and holistically decoupled from any real empirical evidence. You DO NOT KNOW the kinetics of this particular collision. You CANNOT say with any degree of certainty that such technology would have increased the probability of preventing fatalities more than Toyota, building a car that withstands rear impacts more effectively with less deformation. The fact of the matter is that the Model S, has received stellar marks from NHTSA. No vehicle as ever received higher marks in the history of NHTSA testing. So, yes - Tesla, would do well to include anti-frontal collision technology, but let's not sit here and pile on a car company that has defeated all the naysayers who said that the government would never get its money back because Tesla, was doomed to fail right from the beginning. Not only did the government gets its money back, but Tesla, paid off its loans way ahead of time and became a profitable car company in record time as well - debunking all the critics stories about how the company would never make it and ultimately fail as a concept. - Get the damn Tailgaters off the road. - Build more Five Star Safety Rated electric cars with as much appeal such as the Model S. - Stop making hugely ugly electric cars as a Freakish Sideshows to Fossil Fuel Dinosaur products. - Teach United States Drivers HOW to "think and behave" on the roads of America. - Include Crash Prevention Technology that actually works and make it Standard Equipment. These are some of the critical keys to making our highways, streets and roads a safer place to travel. Sitting back blaming an outstanding new electric car company, merely because it successfully extracted its driver/owner from another collision without major injury, is definitely NOT the answer.
Tesla hyper-milers like to brag about tailgating to save on battery drain. That sounds VERY responsible!
I completely agree. Clearly the lack of safety features on a 2004 Toyota Corolla and a negligent Tesla driver are to blame here. It would never have occurred to me to blame the car! After owning a Tesla one year, I can tell you that they are constantly making safety and software upgrades to this car. I am very impressed with them. I am sure that they will add every single safety feature that they figure out is necessary over time.
What article are you reading? It's not the lack of safety features on the Corolla, it's the lack of safety features on the Tesla. A +$70k vehicle that lacks safety features that basically come standard in other cars of the same price range, and are optional safety features in most vehicles. The reason it's more important in the Tesla is because of the highly distracting infotainment system and touch screen UX that requires the driver to take attention away from the road.
Your passion is infectious Tim. We do not know the speeds yet, you are right. Will it matter to the argument? We have not said "Would have" or taken a stance that this is an EV vs ICE car issue. We report on ICE cars fires. We were all over the Porsche GTS fire stories and a ran a series about the Escape's fire recalls. We have pointed out an example and say "could have." This isn't a legal discussion, we are exploring an topic using a recent event as an example. With regard to your tailgating discussion, an accident this severe could not have been caused by tailgating. The relative speeds of the cars would have been too close to cause such dramatic destruction of the Corolla. It seems pretty apparent that the Corolla was either stopped or moving dramatically slower than the Tesla when it was hit. - - I remember the Pinto and the issues with that car. Our commenters still refer to it. One did just this week in Aaron T's story. - - With regard to why IIHS has not tested the Tesla, they commented on that. They said they have limited resources and time (regardless of cost) and don't try to test cars that sell in such small numbers (true if you look at the stuff they test). Tesla is now down to roughly 1100 cars per month in the US. IIHS also mentioned the class of cars that Tesla falls into and points out they rarely do test those. To which I say "BS!" They have tested the Audi A6 in the past. There's more to it. Why would Tesla want to enter a test knowing they cannot achieve the highest rating in? They are simply not eligible for the top score because they lack safety systems now commonplace that are required for consideration.
Either it's the safest and most advanced personal mode of transportation on the planet , or... It's not. Sitting this (high speed) accident aside, I believe the Tesla S to be an under - equipped luxury sedan. As mentioned above in the book length diatribe, it's not a mater of $. Get on it Musk, the world is watching.
John, you fail to understand the major security aspect of the Model S is in the. architecture. Trust me I have been in collisions like this before.The front of a cheap Ford Focus was smashed, engine block moved forward and crushed, penetrated the body of a friend killing him in few minutes. You talk about an accessory like collision detection. Good news is that has been adding more and more features fast and it has stated it will be the first to make available auto pilot systems which has potential to be more relevant than your anti collision system. The Model S damage seems really minor when compared to the destruction witnessed here. Incredible, unique, clever and safest architecture.
I'm sorry about your personal loss. Sadly, expensive, larger, and heavier cars will always do better in crashes. I totally get that the Model S is incredibly robust. Once a crash occurs it is a very safe place to be. That is also true of its peers like the Audi A8, Mercedes S, and the Lexus LS. I understand Tesla spares no expense on its chassis and its overall structure. The Model X will be even better because the driver's head will be higher up, which is safer in side impacts. I have no quibbles with anyone who argues the Model S is amazing vehicle. That said, what important active safety equipment has the Model S added since it was introduced years ago? I can't come up with anything. Tesla may leap ahead with an available autopilot system, but for now, it has zero driver safety aids, and none announced for future production. Unless I am mistaken the Tesla Model S still is not even available with adaptive radar cruise control, which was the first mass marketed driver aid (since ABS) and which forms a vital part of many autonomous driving systems.
I am not sure I agree gasoline cars like A8, SUVs would offer similar safety. That is because those massive engines again crush people to death in front accidents. Also, center of gravity of engine and gas tank may make cars tend to roll. Again, it is an entire archictecture. Accessories may be added later. I would get a Model S any day over these monster combustion cars. One for thing
How about this for a headline "Toyota Corolla Death-Trap Kills Three in Gasoline-Fueled Fire" Toyota should be forced to make their cars safer. This accident could have been easily created by any medium/large SUV on the street. Tesla gets the safety awards because their drivers are still alive after every accident. The other car makers should strive to match Tesla's safety. We all know that if this was a Suburban hitting the Corolla and causing the fire, it would have not even been covered on national news outlets. But, because a Tesla is involved, it makes international news. And for all those that are unaware, the Tesla is already "braking" before the driver even touches the brake-pedal, it is called regenerative-braking and can easily qualify as a passive forward crash-prevention system.
I'm sorry, but I could not write that story. The Chevrolet Suburban has advanced forward collision prevention. Chevy is doing its part, like almost every single automaker, to move the bar forward for the safety of those not just in their own cars, but for the other drivers and pedestrians around them. http://media.gm.com/Pages/news/us/en/2014/Feb/napa/chevrolet/0224-safety.html Actually, no the Tesla's regen system is not a substitute for these systems which work when drivers are applying the "go" pedal. They also work when the cruise control is on and when a driver is distracted. That is sort of the point. They can take action when we drivers are not able to respond properly.
so even though the suburban was just an example and you could replace that with any large model vehicle... isn't this forward collision feature an option, and not standard, in most cars that offer it? I would imagine that the majority of people don't, yet, opt to pay a few thousand bucks on a new feature like forward collision. So again, the accident would have still happened, statistically speaking. as for the feature itself, it's really freaking cool and it would be great to have it as an option on every car. personally, I might not ever buy that feature though. why? because my brain seems to work pretty well and has kept me, and those around me, quite safe so far (knock on wood). I, personally, don't like the feel of a car that decides things for me. now for the tesla... again I agree it would be a great option for every car but then this driver might not have bought that feature, negating the argument here. The model s is a new car, made by a new company. you can't expect everything to be perfect. however, it looks like most of us can agree that they are doing an amazing job for how new they are. it seems to be a human trait to notice the bad and forget the good. the model s is an amazing and unique car. it does a ton of things that no other car can do but it misses one or two features and suddenly those things dont matter to us. The reckless driver/s are the only ones to blame. both the speeding model s driver, and perhaps a careless corolla driver. after all, we dont know if this person cut off the model s or was traveling at an unsafely low highway speed or even driving at night without their lights on.
Which modern large vehicle? As far as I can tell, and I have looked closely, all the manufacturers selling vehicles now offer this technology. Is it always standard, nope. If customers wish to choose not to buy it, I understand that choice. Tesla does not offer its customers this safety feature. Which can also protest them from crushing liability lawsuits. Part of my point is that Tesla markets itself on its website and in its announcements and its personal interviews (publicity) as THE SAFEST car. Should not the safest car, which costs literally three times the average cost of what most families pay for a new car, have this safety feature available? I have no quibbles at all with you that the Tesla is a fantastic automobile. I am always careful to point that out. We often do stories about the Tesla brand and Model S that are overwhelmingly positive. In a story yesterday about EV sales I sang its praises without any qualifications (other than the facts of the sales numbers). This is a story focusing on safety. Shouldn't we fans of the Model S ask for it to simply offer common safety equipment. So common, that without it vehicles are not even considered for the industry's top safety rating?
So a Suburban takes 165 feet to stop from 60 mph and a Tesla can do that in 108 feet, but somehow you feel that a Suburban is safer even though it takes 57 more feet to stop. Your argument only works if the driver is basically blind-folded. Also, even though the Tesla rear-ended the Corolla, the Corolla occupants still had the advantage of the huge Tesla crumple-zone, which absorbed vast amounts of kinetic energy. Had the Suburban hit the Corolla at even half the speed of the Tesla impact, you would have had the same or an even worse outcome. Right now the Tesla model S has been out for only two years and the speed at which they are introducing new features on their vehicles is unprecedented. You risk your automotive reputation to think Tesla will not have a superior collision-avoidance system within a reasonable time-frame. The major auto companies wasted decades before they started putting these on a few models. Everyone knows these features take time to develop, test, and implement, but not decades. By the way, when it comes to safety, I first care about the occupants in my car, which typically is my family. Also, you should read the article you referenced me to. They emphasize passenger safety and protecting the vehicle, nothing about protecting the other passengers in the other car. Why is that? Maybe, just maybe, because that is the responsibility of the manufacturer of the car they are driving. Knowing what you know, would you drive around in a Ford Pinto? Looks like the Toyota Corolla is the Ford Pinto of the 2010's. So rather than trying to blame everyone who owns a car that hits a Corolla for not having better collision-avoidance systems, let's instead get Toyota to produce a safer car. Maybe you have become numb to 200,000 car fires a year on American roads or the 200+ deaths every year from these fires. If you want to change things for the better, start with the article titled "Toyota Corolla Death-Trap Kills Three in Gasoline-Fueled Fire". Running anything else is just exploiting the three senseless deaths and Tesla's brand for readers.
You actually wrote "Also, even though the Tesla rear-ended the Corolla, the Corolla occupants still had the advantage of the huge Tesla crumple-zone, which absorbed vast amounts of kinetic energy."??? Seriously??? Are you blind? Have you seen the photos of the crash? Did you see how little damage there was to the front of Tesla and how the Corolla was nearly unrecognizable??? Wherever you went to school, go ask for your money back because you've failed the most basic physics class. Nice try, Elon Musk posting as Austin Anthony! Go search for Laguna Beach Tesla crash (two fatalities) and Camarillo restaurant Tesla crash to see the sheer destruction Tesla Model S is capable of. It's the ultimate battering ram. Crumple zone my a$$!
Battering ram with a "heads down" driver and dodgy brakes. Killer on the road There's a killer on the road..... (sigh)
If you understand physics, why did you post a response like you did. Obviously the Tesla was traveling at a higher speed than the Corolla, or the Corolla was possibly at a stand still. Where did the energy come from that caused the Tesla crumple-zone to crumple. It came from the kinetic energy of the Tesla. Therefore, whatever kinetic-energy was converted to mechanical energy and absorbed by the Tesla crumple-zone, this energy was not passed to either the Corolla or the Tesla passenger compartment. Had there been no crumple-zone or a small crumple-zone typical of every other vehicle on the road, the energy passed to the Corolla would have been even higher with possibly an even more tragic outcome. The fault of the accident lies with the Tesla driver, not Tesla. The the damage to the Corolla and the gas fire that ensued was a result of the Toyota Corolla having an inferior design to a crash of that magnitude. Toyota should be forced to make their small cars safer, especially in the US where more than half of the vehicles sold are trucks and SUV that weight between two to three tons. Don't fault Tesla for designing a car with excellent crash-protection, fault the car-makers who allow their owners to die because they cannot design better crash-protection in their cars. Hopefully you and I can agree that we both want our loved-ones in a vehicle with the highest crash protection. Right now that is Tesla Model S. Every other car maker should try to match or exceed the Tesla Model S in crash-protection. Tesla raised the bar and now is the leader in this category.
"So a Suburban takes 165 feet to stop from 60 mph and a Tesla can do that in 108 feet," A Tesla can stop in 108 Feet IF the driver is not busy fiddling with the 17" display and IF the brakes are working properly. There are dozens of complaints from customers complaining of brake problems. First problem is that due to less frequent use of the brakes (because drivers are making use of the regenerative braking) a layer of rust/dust/grime can build up on the brakes which makes them less effective. Second (and much more alarming) problem is that owners are reporting the brake pedal falls to the floor sometimes and that the Tesla service centres are telling them it is 'normal"...WHAT??? Examples; Re: Bad brakes « Reply # 33 on: Today at. 8:54 » Quote from: Brede on Yesterday at. 8:04 p.m. TODAY MY GRANDFATHER'S GIRLFRIEND WAS HIT FROM BEHIND BY A TESLA. THE TESLA DRIVER CLAIMED THAT HE HAD NO BRAKING POWER AND HAD NO CHANCE TO STOP. As I wrote earlier in another thread: this is actually a very safety and MUST result in a recall of Tesla. It is completely unacceptable, regardless of car, with unreliable brakes. A Model S is a car for over 2 tons and will trigger major forces in a collision. This time it was a car that apparently, he who drove the Tesla is telling the truth, had failing brakes. Next time it could be a mother with baby in a pedestrian being hit. brakes DO work at any time. A mandatory requirement Re: Bad brakes « Reply # 31 on: Today at. 8:21 » Tested mine now and the pedal sinks to the bottom. The brakes seem to work fine when it's dry, but wet / slush go there for a few seconds before there is any particular effect. Can to some extent be compensated by pressing harder, but if one is unprepared feel as if there basically does not have brakes. If you drive a few minutes before the next braking so that discs and pads are cold and wet again the same thing happens again. Should I be worried? « Reply # 32 on: Today at. 8:41 » Quote from: Muffinman on Today at. 8:21 Yes, undoubtedly. Sinking pedal to the bottom and you do not have braking on a car at over 2 tons so it does not matter what the reason is. The car is dangerous to use the manufacturer has corrected the problem permanently. Dr. Bob Reinke | 26 MARS 2014 Have several times complained to the Chicago service center about this life threatening problem and been told that the brakes will always disable and overcome the the go-peddle. There are several problems with this false statement: I have tested the sequence on my P85 and found that if you are on the brake and enable the go peddle, the car goes. If you have enough brake peddle left, you can slow the car. The reason I say, "Enough brake peddle left," is because my brake peddle fades to the floor in about 5 to 20 seconds, depending on the previous brake use. The fading is worst in heavy stop and go traffic. The brake and go-peddle have a little over an inch side clearance in my Tesla and I can normally stop the car with my foot 7/8 on the brake peddle; however, that leaves enough of my size 10s hanging off the brake peddle, and over the go-peddle. Enough to depress the go-peddle when the leaking brakes bleed down to allow my shoe to engage the go-peddle. At that point, pressing harder on the floored brake peddle only depresses the go-peddle harder. With no further brake force, the Tesla rockets into whatever is in front of you. when complaining about this problem at the Chicago service center, I was told that the Model S brakes don't bleed down. I found that the brakes in 6 of the 10 cars in for service all bled to the floor in less than 20 seconds. Then I was told that I was pressing too hard. How hard does Tesla think the driver is going to depress the brakes while it is charging into the rear of the car in front of him. The unexpected acceleration is caused by several Tesla faults: The close proximity of the use diametrically opposed peddles---My 56 Oldsmobile had about 7 inches between. Perhaps they were smarter then? The brakes under NHTSA are supposed to override the throttle. Tesla brakes leak-down making them worthless, and let the shoe push the go-peddle. The Gong is ineffective because it sounds incessently over inconsequential alarms. Who is listening for a gong while your car is pushing the car ahead of you into the car in front of him. I now drive wothout shoes, so I can feel my foot on the break, or touching the go-peddle. The right fix would be to move the peddles, or perhaps make the return spring on the go beddle stiffer to telegraph to your shoe it is on it; however, if Tesla is too cheep to fix the peddles the cheaper fix is a keyboard stroke to properly softwear shut-down the go-peddle while the brake peddle is off the home proximiry switch. I was told by the service tech that the brake always overrides the go peddle. Then he held the brake while he floored the go peddle, the rear of the Tesla humped up like a bull in heat and burned two black marks under the rear tires. Just like my Toyota did before the fix. Then he said that the brakes actually reduced the power of the drive motors. Obviously, it didn't reduce the power enough to prevent the Model S from taking off after the brake peddle bled to the floor in stopped traffic. Perhaps the most relavant question should be can Elon afford to pay 4 billion dollar penalty (GM) for failing to respond to a clear safety problem? All the ridicule and smart remarks on this thread only iritate and resolve nothing of the problem. Apparently, those who are having the Uncontrolled Acceleration problem are the only who understand the danger. Undoubtedly, there are the smart elete reading this who can never make a mistake, who will pick this entry apart, and solve nothing--but that prevents no deaths caused by an easily softwear mended malfunction. The fix costs is so little to save one life

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