Tesla Model S Crashes Through Restaurant; Driver Blames It On Unintended Acceleration

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 30

Tesla Model S Almost Parks Inside Restaurant

Tesla Model S Almost Parks Inside Restaurant

Unintended acceleration?  We think not, but that’s what a 71-year-old Tesla Model S driver blames for the carnage seen here.

Last Friday, at approximately 11:11 AM (Okay, that’s not approximate. It’s exact) a Model S “jumped” the curb and crashed through a restaurant (Lure Fish House) in Ventura County, CA.

Fortunately, no injuries occurred, according to Ventura County Fire Depart­ment ­officials .

Tesla Model S:  Perhaps "Too Fast" For Some

Tesla Model S: Perhaps “Too Fast” For Some

The driver claimed to have applied the brake, but the Model S lurched forward instead.  There’s never been an “unintended acceleration” event linked to the Model S, so we have our doubts in regards to the driver’s claim.  Is this one of those “I meant to hit the brake, but instead…”  Probably.

Four passengers were in the Model S when the restaurant destruction occurred.  The restaurant’s patio area, which is where the Model S accelerated through, was not occupied (closed to restaurant patrons) at the time of the crash.

Obviously, the wrecked Model S will require some extensive reconditioning before it returns to the road.  As for the restaurant, it might be a bit drafty for a while.

Photo credit: theshubinite via Instagram  

Editors Note: This is not an April Fools joke.  That is not our style here.

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30 responses to "Tesla Model S Crashes Through Restaurant; Driver Blames It On Unintended Acceleration"

  1. offib says:

    I just had to get over hearing there wouldn’t be a 40kW model left. Now this? It’s going to be that poxy ‘Runaway Prius’ episodes all over again!

  2. kdawg says:

    LOL, check the CarFax before shopping for a used Tesla.

  3. kdawg says:

    (There’s a drive-thru joke here too….)

  4. Jay Cole says:

    …so, its all Tesla, all the time, here today at InsideEVs

    1. Mark H says:

      The man (Elon) is a media machine!

  5. Nelson says:

    Is that a window or mural above the Model S? If it’s a window, why can’t we see the roof of the Model S? I don’t recall it being a convertible.
    Looks like a bad photo shop attempt.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. cgVolt says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing!

        1. Eric Loveday says:

          Thanks kdawg…Was just about to throw that link in…Unfortunately, those photos are copyrighted and we can’t use them here. But they do confirm the validity of this crash.

        2. backstroke says:

          Heh some people, canny even walk few paces to their table!

        3. Mokie says:

          Good work kdawg

          thanks

  6. I own a retail commercial building in New Jersey where the cars pull straight in to the parking spaces and are 6 feet from the front of the building. about once every two years somebody hits the accelerator by mistake and crashes right into the building – it’s happened three times already.

    Every time the person is adamant that the car took off by itself. I think it’s a natural reaction to say “it’s not my fault” and the only other thing you can blame is the car because the building didn’t jump in your way. I have video of all of the events and they even lie about what they did immediately before driving into the building. One person swore they didn’t hit the building, and only drove up onto the sidewalk, even though their car was smashed, the airbags deployed and the building had rubber and paint chips all over it. Of course I had the video showing how they drove right over the curb and smashed into the cinder block wall. The impact shattered the closest window in the building.

    This problem has nothing to do with what kind of car, or what kind of propulsion system powers it. It’s just people being human(and sometimes careless)

    1. kdawg says:

      I don’t understand why collision detection devices aren’t mandated. I can hear it already from the anti-nanny-state people, but the cost is not that much and everyone’s insurance rates would go down. Seatbelts save(d) a lot of lives, but they are still only damage control after an impact has occured. Collision detection sensors would prevent the impact in the first place.

    2. Anderlan says:

      Actually, an EV has the gusto off the line that an ICE doesn’t. I just test drove a Leaf today and I coincidentally kept imagining what would happen if I accidentally tapped the accel while parked in my carport. My ICE couldn’t get up enough kinetic energy in the 3 feet to the wall to do much damage. But the EV could.

    3. Bill Howland says:

      OH NO!!!!

      Not Tom’s Restaurant !!!!! hehe

  7. Time to Talk says:

    Time for someone to have a talk with the driver about handing over the FOB to the car. At some point we need to know when to call it quits for driving. For this driver…I think their time has come.

  8. vdiv says:

    Gratefully it seems no one was hurt, the car and the restaurant can be repaired/replaced.

    It would be interesting to learn how the car handled the event, if propulsion power was disconnected, other safety systems deployed, Tesla Central notified, etc.

  9. Priusmaniac says:

    Great, that’s one more sale of a Model S that will be paid for by insurance companies.

  10. James says:

    This happened to my dad a few years ago. He drove my mom’s Jaguar through the front of a 7-11, taking out a great deal of the facade, but thankfully no one was hit or injured. It should have been the end of my dad’s driving days, but this is America, and old people drive until they are rolled away in a casket.

  11. MikeM says:

    I had my own brush with unintended acceleration way back in 1966.
    I was 27, new in USA (from Australia), with “new” 1957 Ford Galaxie, a near junker.
    Never before driven a full size American behemoth or an automatic tranny car with the old style giant brake pedal .

    Backing cautiously out of a Pasadena motel parking lot I hit the brake and danged if that car didn’t take off like a rocket in reverse.
    I was rudely introduced to the physics of oversteer (vicious) when accelerating hard in reverse. A natural phenomenon, I now understand.
    Somehow, against all odds, I found the emergency brake – foot actuated – never seen one before.

    A shiny green Cadillac loomed in the rear mirror as I was in the process of lurching into the same row after my sharp rearwards turn. I was sure I had at least nudged it before stopping. Turned out not so! Whew!

    Curiously, the pedals never again reversed themselves like that in the three or so years I owned the car.

    Sorry guys! I realize just how relevant this story is to electric cars. Just had to get it off my chest, I guess.
    Also this occurred just a couple of days after I had a rant session with my Insurance Co. for dumping me into a high risk group, at higher cost, of course.
    Discrimination against furriners darn it!

    One moral of the story is: You don’t have to be in your seventies (like I am now) to be victimized by a psychotic automobile.
    There may be others.

  12. Stoaty says:

    “Unintended acceleration” is the EV equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”.

  13. Grumpy says:

    Anybody who power-braked mom’s station wagon in the high school parking lot knows that the unintended acceleration thing is silly.

  14. Roy_H says:

    “Unintended acceleration” can just as easily be unintended hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. It does not necessarily mean that the car did this on its own.

  15. Bill Howland says:

    Actually the only time I’ve had unintended acceleration is with my volt, changing quickly between maintenance mode and regular mode.

    The car was in L, and when I hit the gas it went BACKWARD. I shut down the car, powered it up normally, and its been ok since.

  16. Bill Howland says:

    People seem to take the car maker’s view that there is no such thing as UA.

    The volt is the first car I’ve personally seen this in, but the first well known case of UA was the Audi 5000. Parking lots in NYC put up signs expressly prohibiting them.

    I have other things to say but it would piss off too many people.

    1. MikeM says:

      Bill H: As I remember it, the Audi case was marked by public/press hysteria on the one hand and utter disbelief on the other (the auto savvy press and others).
      If I’m remembering correctly, the situation revolved around the claim of acceleration while the brake pedal was applied hard.

      That the claim, at face value, was ludicrous got no traction at all. The upshot was Audi leaving the US market for a decade or more.
      I have to believe there is a little more skepticism about drivers’ UA claims today.

      Although I certainly wouldn’t question your own experience where there is potentially bug prone software in between you and the wheels.
      So, on reflection, in these drive/brake-by-wire times, maybe we should be a little more open to the possibility of nasty software-hardware interactions and possible UA.

      Unleash the lawyers!

      1. Bill Howland says:

        MikeM

        I don’t know how people can say this kind of thing can never happen. I’d actually expect it to be more the NORMAL case than being an exception.

        In the case of the Audi 5000, the car tires digging through a swimming pool concrete foundation lip is all the proof I need.

        The Audi Lawyers argued it was a case of people confusing the brake and gas pedals, but I don’t believe that for a moment. Its obvious to me the cruise control under certain circumstances went nuts and disabled the brakes. Many of these engineers are short sighted, I’ve met plenty of the type.

        The basic problem is a lack of imagination. They think that since they designed it, it has to be perfect, and can’t believe a scenerio could come up where bad things happen. The problem is in their compensation. They get paid when a fabulous thing starts working. Not 300 hours later after they’ve totally debugged the thing. It helps to have an idiot boss who is too dumb to be ‘seasoned’.

        As mentioned the first time I’ve experienced it is with my 2011 volt. I NOW know what to do to avoid triggering it. But I’m almost certain GM is unaware of the problem. But the rest of the computer systems in the car are so very buggy that it was not unexpected.

  17. PJS says:

    I’m guessing if any legal action comes from this that Elon will just dial up the software tracking on the S, just like he did to the NYT. A black box will outwit a lawyer every time.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      To some extent people could say its my opinion. but I was very grateful for that “Black Box” info re: the NYTimes. To me, it illuminated a glaring Model S version 1 deficiency, which of course, Musk had to constantly deflect. A reasonably highly placed Tesla person quietly told me this is probably going to be quietly addressed in S 2.0.

      To me, that has the ring of truth, and it indicates they acknowledge the issue.

  18. Speedo says:

    That’s right. The software logs will probably tell exactly what happened including the collision. Gotta love that car.