Tesla Autopilot Not Active During Fatal Newport Beach Crash in 2022


Authorities have determined that Autopilot was not active in a fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S Plaid in California last year.

On May 12, 2022 the Model S Plaid crashed into construction equipment on Pacific Coast Highway between Old Newport Boulevard and Riverside Avenue. The accident claimed the lives of three people, Crystal McCallum, Andrew James Chaves, and Wayne Walter Swanson Jr., as well as injuring three workers at the site.

Media were quick to name Tesla’s driver-assist features as a possible cause after the NHTSA included the accident as part of its probe into alleged Autopilot related accidents.

The Newport Beach police department’s Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) collaborated with Tesla, the federal agency, and other local authorities to gather information on the events leading up to the accident. The data retrieved from the car’s onboard computer revealed that no driver assist function was activated, and the car was under the driver’s control at the time of the collision. (via Los Angeles Times)

Authorities believe that speeding, as well as alcohol or drugs, were the main factors behind the incident. Newport Beach Police Lt. Eric Little said the vehicle was “traveling in great excess of the speed limit” at the time the accident occurred.