Tesla notes several times fewer accidents than the industry average

According to the latest Tesla Vehicle Safety Report card, during the first quarter of 2019, Tesla cars registered one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven (when Autopilot is engaged) and one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven (without Autopilot).

In both cases, it's several times better than the average in the U.S. at 436,000 miles. However, the result for driving when Autopilot is engaged didn't improve (see graph).

Tesla Safety Report – Q1 2019

"In the 1st quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot, we registered one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 436,000 miles."

Tesla Safety Report – Q1 2019

To understand the data properly, we need to list a few disclaimers below:

  • According to the data, Tesla cars note less accidents than the industry average
  • Data doesn't tell us the relation between Tesla and other new, premium models on the market
  • Without additional info, the data doesn't tell us whether Autopilot improves safety (we believe it does) despite the result is higher. That is because we don't know how engagement of Autopilot spreads across various types of driving conditions and roads. In many cases, Autopilot is used at higher speeds (higher mileage) like highways, main roads, or in slow heavy traffic, which are already safer (on average) than ordinary roads, while other complex areas (especially city) would be omitted.
General info from Tesla:

"At Tesla, we believe that technology can help improve safety. That’s why Tesla vehicles are engineered to be the safest cars in the world. We believe the unique combination of passive safety, active safety, and automated driver assistance is crucial for keeping not just Tesla drivers and passengers safe, but all drivers on the road. It’s this belief that grounds every decision we make, from the design of our cars, to the software we introduce, to the features we offer every Tesla owner.

While no car prevents all accidents, we work every day to try to make them much less likely to occur. Advanced safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Obstacle Aware Acceleration, come standard on all Tesla vehicles for an added layer of safety beyond the physical structure of each car. Over-the-air software updates allow us to introduce safety enhancements and new features long after a car has been purchased by a customer. And because every Tesla is connected, we’re able to use the more than 10 billion miles of real-world data collected by our global fleet – of which more than 1 billion have been driven with Autopilot engaged – to constantly improve our products."

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