Runaway Tesla Causes Chaos in China

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
runaway tesla causes chaos in china

Tesla said yesterday that it will work with Chinese law enforcement to investigate why a Model Y went out of control in that country earlier this month, killing two people and injuring three more.

A high-school-aged girl and a motorcyclist were killed on November 5 in Guangdong province. Yours truly saw videos of the incident floating around Twitter this weekend. The videos were taken by surveillance cameras and they were hard to watch.

In the videos, which can be seen here, you can see the Model Y pull over to the side of the road and almost come to a stop before it takes off and accelerates to a high speed. It doesn't appear that the brake lights come on as the car slows to a stop at the start of the incident. Reports say the car traveled at high speed for more than two kilometers and local police ruled out that the driver was intoxicated.

According to Reuters, the driver, a 55-year-old man, claimed he had "issues" with the brake pedal. Tesla claims that its data shows that the driver didn't attempt to use the brakes during the incident.

"Police are currently seeking a third party appraisal agency to identify the truth behind this accident and we will actively provide any necessary assistance," Tesla told Reuters.

We don't know at this point what caused the incident, or if any autonomous-driving systems had anything to do with it. Nor do we know if there was any other kind of failure, such as brake failure, or if the driver panicked and pressed the wrong pedal.

[Image: Tesla]

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7 of 15 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Nov 14, 2022

    I haven't the slightest idea what happened here. It could be anything from the driver having a medical problem, or just deciding to restage "Death Race 2000," but I'm noticing a trend with Tesla crashes: they make the news no matter what the circumstances were. Here in Denver, a local TV station ran an "investigative" piece on a Tesla crash that killed the driver, spending quite a bit of time on "helpful hints on how to get out of your electric vehicle when the electronic door latches fail." Of course, this "investigation" didn't mention that many electric cars (including the Bolt and Leaf) have old-school mechanically operated door latches, or that there are any number of non-electric models that have electronic latches and manual emergency releases, as the Model 3 does.

    So, apparently, we need a safety primer on how to get out of a Tesla, but not a late model Lincoln Continental. First class journalism, fellas.

    Reminds me of the line in Casino about Joe Pesci's character - "they were ready to blame him for everything, no matter where it happened."

  • CoastieLenn CoastieLenn on Nov 14, 2022

    That's an awful long ride to have NEVER hit the brakes (just by watching the video).

    • Kendahl Kendahl on Nov 14, 2022

      Or cranking the steering wheel over hard to crash the car before it reaches high speed.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 14, 2022

    I am afraid it will turn into political issue and we will never know the truth.

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Nov 14, 2022

    I thought Tesla eliminated their PR department. Who gives the statements to the press?