Tesla Driver Blames Full Self-Driving for Almost Plowing Into Moving Train

Blame the Machine

The driver whose Tesla nearly plowed straight into a moving train is blaming the automaker's Full Self-Driving mode for the incident, NBC reports — and he's shared some damning evidence to prove it. Though he accepts some responsibility, he's bewildered that the driver assistance system didn't react at all.

"I was the only one in the car. I was the only car in the accident. So yes, it was my fault, it had to be," the driver, Craig Doty II, told NBC. "But I feel it was more that the damn car didn't recognize the train."

Doty first shared dashcam footage of the harrowing close call, which took place on May 8, on a Tesla forum.

Now his account is corroborated by an automatic crash report generated by Tesla, which confirms that Full Self-Driving mode was on during the incident and didn't slow the car down, according to NBC. It also shows that Doty had his hands on the steering wheel, a safety precaution required by the driving mode.

Trading Paint

In the video, the car is seen driving towards a railroad crossing during foggy conditions. But even though the moving train is clearly visible, the vehicle doesn't slow down as it speeds ahead at 60 miles per hour.

At the last second, Doty takes over and swerves, slamming the brakes. The car veers off the road, careening into the boom barrier and grinding to a halt just inches short of the train. A reverse angle shows just how close he was to crossing the locomotive's path.

"I was like there’s no way it doesn’t see the train," he told NBC. "There’s no way it doesn’t see the flashing lights. Yes, it was foggy, but you can still see the lights."

Death Drive

Though its controversial name might suggest otherwise, Tesla's Full Self-Driving mode — and its less advanced sister Autopilot — isn't fully autonomous. Rather, it's a driver-assistance system that requires drivers to be ready to take over at a moment's notice, which sort of defeats the point.

That's a thin technicality, if not outright deceptive piece of branding, that has landed Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk — who has repeatedly promised that full autonomy is just within reach — in hot water with California state regulators, accusing the automaker of misleading the public.

The feds aren't far behind. The Department of Justice is also investigating the automaker for misleading claims about those driver assistance systems. All the while, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has repeatedly investigated crashes involving Full Self-Driving and Autopilot.

This latest incident certainly won't help Tesla's case. A spokesperson from the NHTSA told NBC that the agency is "is aware of this incident and is gathering more information from the manufacturer."

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