While Tesla's new Speed Limit Mode may or may not have made a difference in this tragic situation, the automaker is dedicating the new feature to the man that perished, hoping it may save many lives in the future.
We recently reported about Tesla's new over-the-air update, which works much like Ford's MyKey and GM's Teen Driver. It allows owners to set individual limits for the vehicle's maximum speed. According to Tesla, the update language reads:
Limit vehicle speed and acceleration with speed limit mode. Maximum vehicle speed can be set between 50-90 mph (80-145 km/h).
Last month, 18-year-old Barrett Riley lost his life after crashing his Tesla Model S into a wall. His friend and passenger, Edgar Monserratt Martinez, also passed away as a result of the crash. The police believe that the accident was caused by excessive speed. Riley was driving at high speeds in a 30 mph zone, so Tesla's new feature may or may not have been able to save him.
However, in a previous incident, Riley got a ticket for speeding at 112 mph. After he received the ticket, his father contacted Tesla to find out if there was any way to limit the car's speed. He originally bought the car for his son due to its fantastic safety record. Knowing that rental cars could be "governed" to have a reduced top speed, Riley's dad figured Tesla could do something.
Tesla followed through and limited the speed on Barrett's Model S. However, sadly, it wasn't enough. Being that the Rileys brought the idea to Tesla's attention, the new update honors them in its notes. Hopefully, this will allow parents of Tesla owners to assure that inexperienced drivers in the household don't have access to the car's top speed.