Tesla Crash In China Kills Policeman – Report

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The Tesla Model X. Image credit: Tesla

Car maker Tesla says it will fully co-operate with authorities, after two police officers were reportedly struck by a Model X

Tesla has promised to co-operate fully with officials in China after a Tesla Model X reportedly struck two police officers on Tuesday.

Both traffic officers were injured in the crash, and one policeman sadly died, despite efforts to save him, the Global Times reported.

The other police officer is said to be in a ‘severe’ condition.

It seems footage of the accident has been widely shared on Chinese social media and state television, and an official investigation is now underway.

Fatal accident

The accident reportedly happened in Taizhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, and it is alleged that a Model X ran into two traffic police who were on duty.

It is not clear whether the Tesla vehicle was utilising any of its autonomous driving aids (i.e. Autopilot, Autosteer etc) at the time of the accident, but it is reported that the driver of the Tesla has been detained under police supervision.

According to the Global Times, Tesla expressed sincere sympathy for the two wounded officers and said that it immediately contacted the relevant departments and reported the situation after hearing the news.

Until the results of the accident investigation are finalised, Tesla will not disclose any more information, the company reportedly said.

The accident is receiving a lot of attention inside mainland China, as it comes another Tesla rear-ended a truck in Shaoguan, South China’s Guangdong Province, on 7 May.

That accident reportedly killed the driver of the electric car, according to local media. The cause of that accident is also still under investigation.

Important market

China is a hugely important market for Tesla, and reportedly accounts for 30 percent of its sales.

Indeed, the company became the first foreign carmaker to operate a wholly owned factory in China with its Shanghai plant, which opened in 2019.

Tesla has been in the spotlight recently in China after a woman climbed onto a Tesla car at Shanghai Auto Show 2021 to protest at a brake malfunction in her own vehicle.

That incident went viral on China’s web platforms.

In March CEO Elon Musk denied the company’s electric cars could be used to leak information from China.

His denial followed reports that China’s military had banned Tesla cars from its facilities, including housing complexes, over national security concerns.

Texas crash

Meanwhile in the United States, Tesla had to deal with another fatal accident after a 2019 Tesla Model S burst into flames, when it crashed into a tree north of Houston in April.

What made that crash notable was that no one was apparently behind the wheel of the car, according to local police. Two men were killed but they were not in the drivers seat.

Elon Musk was quick to cast doubt on that law enforcement theory, when he said data recovered showed Autopilot was not enabled.

Tesla also said the car had a driver, directly contradicting local law enforcement at the time.

Engineers at influential US magazine Consumer Reports (CR) have demonstrated how easy it is to defeat Autopilot’s driver monitoring system, and allow a Telsa to drive without anyone in the driver’s seat.

A preliminary finding of the Tesla car crash by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) however seemed to back Musk’s position, as it found that Tesla’s Autosteer could not be engaged on the road where the accident happened.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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