In Depth

Tesla in self-driving mode crashes into fire engine

Model S electric car was travelling at 65mph before the incident

A Tesla Model S electric car has crashed into the back of a fire engine in California while reportedly in self-driving mode.

The fire department in Culver City, east of Los Angeles, said the Tesla was travelling at 65mph on the Interstate 405 motorway when it “ploughed into the rear” of the fire engine, which was at the scene of a separate road accident. 

While Tesla’s Autopilot system has driverless capabilities, reports the BBC News website, the company requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times - even if autonomous modes are activated.

The electric car firm, co-founded by SpaceX chief Elon Musk, “has the ability to analyse data gathered by its vehicles’ onboard computers to determine the cause of crashes”, the news site says. 

That data could prove valuable to investigators with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who will be examining the crashed car, Business Insider says. 

The US-based National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also sending two investigators. 

Although Tesla vehicles have been involved in several accidents with driverless modes active, the recent rise in autonomous cars has improved road safety in the UK.

On Monday, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed car accidents have dropped by 10% over the past five years,  a decline credited largely to the growing number of new cars equipped with autonomous safety features.

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