From Back Seat Of A Tesla, 23-Year-Old Son Takes Over After Driver Has Diabetic Attack, Saves Lives In The Process

1 month ago by Eric Loveday 29

Tesla Emblem On Model S

Though all three occupants suffered injuries, the outcome could’ve been much worse were it not for the heroic actions of the 23-year-old-son in the back seat of a Tesla.

The driver of the Tesla, a 55-year-old man, suffered a diabetic attack while driving the car on Highway 237 in California Saturday morning. Following the attack, the driver lost consciousness with his foot down on the accelerator pedal.

From the back seat, the driver’s son unbuckled himself and sprang into action as the vehicle veered off onto an off-ramp. The son grabbed the steering wheel and turned the Tesla back onto the roadway at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour. Up ahead lie a right curve in the road that couldn’t be navigated at speed from the back seat, so the car “flew” off the road before coming to a rest in a nearby field.

California Highway Patrol reports that no other vehicles were involved in the wreckage.

Injuries for the three unidentified occupants were as follows:

  • Driver – broken back
  • Mother in passenger seat – broken left wrist and broken right ankle
  • Son in back seat – broken left arm and broken pelvis

Mercury News reports that “All three victims were transported to Regional Medical Center.”

Their current conditions are unknown at this time, but had it not been for the immediate response from the son, it seems likely all three could’ve fared a far worse outcome, along with the possibility of other vehicles (and occupants of those vehicles) being involved in the incident.

Source: Mercury News

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29 responses to "From Back Seat Of A Tesla, 23-Year-Old Son Takes Over After Driver Has Diabetic Attack, Saves Lives In The Process"

  1. DJ says:

    And this wouldn’t even be “news” except that it happened in a Tesla…

    1. Kdawg says:

      Maybe a plug for auto-pilot?

    2. ffbj says:

      Hard to say. This one made the news, went viral, and it wasn’t even a crash or a Tesla.

      http://www.10news.com/news/woman-found-passed-out-in-car-on-freeway-032715

    3. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      +1

  2. Ocean Railroader says:

    This kind of makes me wounder if they could make a feature that could programed into the car for people with medical conduction to turn on that would allow the car to park itself or stop once the car feels no information from the steering wheel.

    Such as the driver would program this auto stop feature into the car. And if the driver passes out as soon as the car senses something is wrong it would stay on the road and quickly park itself or pull over and stop. It could in theory even go to a hospital once it senses the driver is not responding.

    1. Denis says:

      Even the first generation of AP would have done exactly that. The car would have stopped in the lane with hazard blinkers on. The problem is that the unconscious driver slammed on the accelerator pedal. Even if he engaged the AP, the accelerator pedal would have overrode the speed setting and disabled the AP. There are no Star/Stop button in a Tesla, so the only solution would be to put the car in neutral. But gear stalk may be hard to reach from a back seat, but even after that you need to break somehow, the only option beeing inaccessible break pedal.

      1. Blastphemy says:

        What are you talking about? ALL Teslas have a Power On/Off button. All that had to happen was the wife pressing that button and the car would have shut down and coasted to a stop.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Or the son telling Mother to pull her husband’s foot off the accelerator!

          This reads like one of those “I’m really lucky to have been thrown from the car and only received life-threatening injuries” stories from people who are in denial about how unlucky they’ve been in an accident.

          A broken pelvis is a very serious injury! If he hadn’t unbuckled his seat belt, chances are the son wouldn’t have been so seriously injured. From the injuries reported, I’m guessing the car flipped over and possibly rolled.

          1. Denis says:

            Model S does not have a start/stop (on/off) button. Period.

            Mother was likely in panic, she was in a much better position to do something about the situation under the son’s guidance.

        2. David Cary says:

          Uh. No they don’t

        3. none says:

          Kman once had a video showing that you can hold down the park “button” and the car slows to a stop. That would have been the ideal situation in this instance…in my opinion.

  3. bro1999 says:

    Aside from the car involved being a Tesla, really not much to do with anything EVs.

    What are we to learn from this? Teslas can “fly”?

    1. John says:

      I thought we already learned that from the video where it jumped the Mercedes and crashed into a dealership?

    2. floydboy says:

      No, but ubs comments can.

  4. DJ says:

    I posted some actual news about the Leaf 2.0 spy shots being out there for a couple days and the Ioniq US pricing being released at basically $30k but it was deleted???

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Well, you posted it as an off-topic slight to us about not reporting “actual news” because you don’t care for this particular piece.

      As we were already pretty tolerant letting you take the first comment with your opinion on the validity of the piece, the second seemed unnecessary, and wasn’t quite factual in reality – so it was removed.

      The IONIQ Electric pricing news article was “actually” on the front page when you commented (as the news was just released this AM by Hyundai), perhaps you had not refreshed the front page in that moment? I’m not sure.

      And as for the LEAF 2.0 spy shots if you are curious, yes they are out there.

      But they are also not free by any stretch, and the timing was bad as they were made available to us after banking hours on Friday (and we were not yet signed up with the provider for a transfer, with our new merger logistics just being worked out last week). So some “actual news” reporting also involves hundreds of dollars to cover properly, and it was not worth it days after the fact.

      As a sidenote: if you see those shots published somewhere without that website’s “tag” on them, they are stolen – something smaller sites can get away with, but we’d rather not be found liable.

      1. ThombdBhomb says:

        I respect that response. It elaborates standards that keep us focused and respectful.

      2. DJ says:

        Sorry, guess I’ve just had enough of the one sided puff pieces 😀

        Also, doesn’t cost anything to let people know the shots are out there!

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Thanks, I do understand personal frustration with seeing things that don’t sit well with myself, (=

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Jay, thank you for taking the time and trouble to post a “behind the scenes” explanation of what does, or in this case does not, go on at InsideEVs. Your transparency is appreciated!

    2. Mister G says:

      Spy shots of Leaf 2! Where are they?

      1. DJ says:

        Not sure if you can post direct links or not so here ya go – http://www.autoblog.com/2017/02/10/next-gen-nissan-leaf-spy-shots/

        1. Jason says:

          Thanks for the link, they have a Facebook link, so just post it yourself and see how far and wide it can go.

  5. MDEV says:

    I can’t wait for consumer reports to call out Tesla for the Autopilot failure to engage itself.

  6. Four Electrics says:

    Human autopilot is best autopilot.

  7. Leptoquark says:

    I wonder if Autopilot could be programmed so that if the human occupant suddenly floors the car for no apparent reason, presumably due to a diabetic attack as in this case, that the car would disable the pedal and safely pull over, even calling 911. No pun intended, but a kind of dead-man’s switch. Maybe the human vital signs could be monitored by the car….

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      How would the car “know” if there was “no apparent reason”? I think you’ve seen too many TV shows which make computers out to have God-like powers of omniscience. In reality, computers don’t have any concept of the world as we perceive it. We humans have a mind which builds up a picture, an understanding, of the world around us. Computers don’t, period. And despite what you may see in science fiction movies and TV shows, they aren’t likely to anytime soon.

      There likely will come a time in which autonomous driving programs will override the human driver’s input to prevent an accident. But we are not there yet, and perhaps not even close.

  8. Jason says:

    Sort of fascinates me that Tesla has all this high tech ability to navigate the lane, determine if it needs to avoid another vehicle, etc. But they forgot to put a camera in to monitor the driver and make sure they are still awake.
    This is actually a negative article for Tesla as pretty much every other car has the key or power button you could press, or the gear level in the middle you could shift into neutral. Tesla doesn’t appear to have the power button and the gear level is obviously not in the middle or easy to reach. It is an unfortunate accident, and we wish them all the best in recovery.

  9. wavelet says:

    I’ve commented about these kind of items before, but still don’t think this belongs in InsideEVs. There is _nothing_ EV-specific about the incident.

    All it does is give the site a reputation for being Tesla-biased, which is unfortunate.

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