A Tesla owner in New Jersey is lucky to be alive after crashing his Model 3 into a parked semi trailer, shearing off most of its roof. In a welcomed surprise in the aftermath, the owner took responsibility for the accident and didn’t try to blame Autopilot.
The incident occurred on Monday morning at about 8:20am local time. According to the South Brunswick Police Department, the Model 3 was travelling northbound on Route 1 with “cruise control” engaged.
In an interview with Officer Brian Kim after the accident, the driver said he momentarily lost focus on the road, causing his car to drift onto the shoulder and collide with the semi that was broken down on the side of the road.
Despite the high speed impact that resulted in the roof being sheared off, the 44-year old driver refused medical treatment at the scene, miraculously only suffering minor injuries.
Photos and videos of the scene and wreckage reveal the extreme damage to the Model Y, showing once again that Tesla vehicles are the safest on the road today.
The aftermath of distracted driving. This @Tesla went under a tractor trailer after the driver had it on cruise control and failed to pay attention Monday. Only minor injuries.
Statewide crackdown starts April 1st. pic.twitter.com/HitAjtacJE
— So Brunswick PD (@SoBrunswickPD) March 29, 2021
Even though the driver confirmed Autopilot was not active at the time of the incident, the NHTSA says they are awaiting more information before deciding to launch an investigation.
“NHTSA is aware of the Tesla crash on March 29 in New Jersey. We have contacted Tesla and local law enforcement regarding this crash and will act accordingly when we have more information,” a representative of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement to Reuters.
The accident comes at a time when the South Brunswick PD is about to start cracking down on distracted driving. Beginning April 1st the UDrive, UText, UPay initiative will target drivers who use their mobile devices while driving.
A similar story unfolded earlier this month when a Model Y ended up underneath a semi trailer in Detroit. Initial media reports attempted to blame Autopilot for the accident, also getting the NHTSA involved. The investigation later found Autopilot wasn’t at fault and the driver was charged with reckless driving.
Despite not being nearly as serious as either of those accidents, two underage teens in Florida last week were pulled over for driving their Model 3 down the wrong side of a road. When stopped by police, the Tesla backed into a police cruiser. The teens attempted to blame Autopilot for the accident, even though Autopilot doesn’t work in reverse.