Tesla Model X Owner Says EV Accelerated On Its Own, Crashed (Update)


Unintended acceleration? Or just a case of slamming the accelerator, rather than the brake pedal?

This is not the first time that a Tesla reportedly accelerated on its own just prior to slamming into a building, but the previous instances involved a Model S, while this accident is with a Model X.

Update (July 6th): Tesla statement below

The vast majority of these types of accidents are driver error, not unintended acceleration. So, despite what the driver says, we’re not convinced that any unintended acceleration occurred.

Video (below) of the scene aftermath (hat tip to sven!):

As Tesla Updates reports:

“A 5 day old Model X was involved in a serious car crash yesterday. According to the owner, the SUV was entering a parking stall at no more than 5 mph when the car “suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own, climbing over 39 feet  (3.9 feet?) of planters and crashing into a building.”

“Consequently, the airbags were deployed and caused burn marks on his wife’s arms. The owner continued “the acceleration was uncontrollable, seemed maximum and the car only stopped because it hit and caused massive damage to the building.”

Crashed Tesla Model X - Image Credit: Tesla Motors Club Forum

Crashed Tesla Model X – Image Credit: Tesla Motors Forum

To the best of our knowledge, there have been no other reports of unintended acceleration in a Model X and the NHTSA doesn’t have any listed complaints on the X and unintended acceleration, which leads us to believe this is a driver error incident. Regardless, the “owner is requesting Tesla to stop deliveries of the Model X and investigate the cause of the accident before further drivers are involved in similar situations,” according to Tesla Updates.

Quoting the Model X driver:

“This could have easily been a fatal accident if the car’s wheels were not turned slightly to the left. If they were straight, it would have gone over the planters and crashed into the store in front of the parking stall and injured or killed the patrons.”

We’re sure that Tesla will investigate the cause of this accident and hopefully will provide us with more info soon.

UPDATE:  Tesla has made a statement saying that they checked vehicle data logs and that the Model X was operating under manual control (not operating in Autopilot or cruise) when the accident occurred.

Tesla say the vehicle had been travelling at 6 miles per hour, until the accelerator pedal was increased to full 100%.  Tesla says the Model X responded to the driver’s direction as one would expect.

Images: Tesla Motors Forum

Source: Tesla Updates

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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180 Comments on "Tesla Model X Owner Says EV Accelerated On Its Own, Crashed (Update)"

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When you think you’re pressing the brake, and you’re pressing the gas…panicking and pressing the “brake” harder results in this.

I’m even less surprised that it was a 5-day old car…the owners sill wasn’t used to the feel yet…

It’s a typical scenario, unfortunately.

Nice find sven, will add to story (with hat tip of course)

“Logs also show a female was driving”
There’s the problem


Remember when Audi had the “acceleration” issues? And it turns out to have been driver error?

Good thing these cars are monitored by TESLA and stupid owners can be held accountable.


Audi’s army of lawyers finally reached an AGREEMENT that it was DRIVER ERROR – to which 60 minutes’ Morley Safer interviewed the Audi representative who kept stating the final ‘agreement’ was the owner confused the gas pedal with the brake pedal to which SAFER mentioned two things on camera:

1). “If the Audi 5000 is so expensive, isn’t it fair to assume the driver, who had to come up with all the money, was intelligent enough to know the difference?

2). The particular 5000 in question SMASHED through the back end of the garage and got hung up on the large LIP of the built-in swimming pool, which the Audi’s tires after several minutes of squeeching and smoke, ground down the CONCRETE prior to failing.

“You still want to say it was ‘driver confusion’?

“Yes, Our lawyers and consultants told us that was the cause.”

The clincher for me was the sign in a Parking Ramp in NYC that said, “NO AUDI 5000’s allowed.”

What did the ramp owners know that people here don’t?

The sign original said
“NO AUDI 5000 drivers
But a Model X driver clipped it and broke the drivers part off the sign…

Bill Howland said:

“…isn’t it fair to assume the driver, who had to come up with all the money, was intelligent enough to know the difference?”

No. Most rich people got that way by inheriting their money, not earning it. There is a slight correlation between intelligence and wealth, but causality isn’t that strong.

And even very smart people may panic and do something stupid in an emergency situation.

What is odd is that any adult would not already know these things.

No, I didn’t say it. Morley Saffer said it, presumably because to most it would seem a reasonable question.

But you miss the whole point of the comment which isn’t surprising for you.

Bill Howland said:

“Morley Saffer said it, presumably because to most it would seem a reasonable question.”

Typical of you to assume most people share your opinions. Also typical of you to not realize that the majority of your opinions are out of the mainstream.

“But you miss the whole point of the comment which isn’t surprising for you.”

Tell us, Bill; when you compose one of your very long wall-of-text posts, in which you choose to share your detailed technical knowledge of a subject having very little relevance to the subject at hand, or none at all: is that because you don’t understand the topic of the posts to which you’re supposedly responding? Or is it just that you don’t care how irrelevant your wall-of-text posts are?

Of all those who regularly post comments to InsideEVs, you are probably in the very worst position from which to be throwing stones at someone for making non-sequitur posts.

Run along now Sonny and pick on someone else.

Define rich. You can define it in a specific way to make what you sat true. But the majority of people in the US that can afford a Tesla got there by hard work and education.

Now – sure their childhood on average was a little better than average. But the money they earned was their own.

Luck is certainly sometimes involved. But luck didn’t play a huge role on getting into grad school and working hard afterwards.

Surveys of Tesla owners typically put us at about $150k a year (although most I know are a bit higher than that). That salary is not an inherited wealth level of salary.

The median age is upper 40’s contrary to a later posting about us old foggies.

I know a meteorologist, a small business owner (conceivably inherited), and several MDs. A couple of MDs are immigrants. But my data is anecdotal – just check the surveys.

The bias against success is troubling.

John said:

“I’m even less surprised that it was a 5-day old car…the owners sill wasn’t used to the feel yet…”

Yeah, this is most likely a case of driver error on the part of a driver unfamiliar with his new car.

I sadly have to admit that I’ve hit the gas pedal when I meant to hit the brakes. It was in a car I hadn’t owned long too. (I was in my mid 20’s, so it wasn’t old age.) Luckily it was in a car with a manual transmission, so I had the clutch in and it just slowly rolled while the engine hit the rev limiter. But my brain’s response was still to keep pushing the gas pedal harder into the floor to get the car to stop. It was VERY difficult to finally pull my foot off the pedal and finally hit the brakes. The key to understanding this phenomena is understanding how our brains learn. For example, when you walk, you don’t have to think “lift my foot, swing my leg, swing my hands” in order to walk. You just walk and your subconscious mind takes care of each muscle contraction. The same thing happens when you drive. Your subconscious brain takes over the actual mechanics of stopping and starting and steering. When your conscious brain is thinking “STOP! NOW! HARD!”, you aren’t actually thinking about the actual physical mechanics of which muscles to contract. You are… Read more »

Very well said/explained Nix. The neurological pathways of the brain are fascinating but not always 100% correct in terms of our perception of events/reality.

This is where high-regen/one-pedal-driving would help.

In my Volt, I rarely touch the brake pedal. In the Bolt EV, it would be even less. I assume the Model X can have the regen set very high as well.

These happened several times in China on Model S. After investigation all drivers hitted gas pedal instead of brake

Alright… We’ve been here before. How old was the driver? Then we’ll make our conclusions from there.


There we go. Now that the logs show it’s the driver’s fault, let’s see when they finally show the driver’s age.

The driver was 45 years old.

The Model X owner said the following:

“My wife is a 45-year-old woman with a great driving record. Not and incapacitated driver. She has been going to that center for over 20 years and parking in the same stalls hundreds of times.”

“She knows the difference between brake and accelerator pedal. I am waiting to hear from Tesla whether the accelerator pedal can be depressed by the car electronically similar to gas-powered cars’ pedal being depressed on their own while in cruise control.”


Wow. Well done, centarian!

How many idiots does Tesla have to prove to be wrong or flat out lying by examining the log files of the car after a crash before people start being accountable for their own mistakes?

Sorry but the last few crashes were more Tesla’s bad design or faulty implementation than the work of “an idiot”. You can point to the fine print on page 383 of the manual but when you market the car one way and it behaves another then it’s more on you than on your customer.

Sorry “DonC” but you can’t put the blame on Tesla for the autopilot or summon fails when Tesla make it so incredibly clear that the software is not finished/in beta/whatever they call it. By incredibly clear I mean a proverbial barrage of warning messages, beeps and other requirements.

If Tesla say you use autopilot or summon at your own risk and must be present, with hands on the wheel, or present while the car is being summoned, and people ignore these warnings, then the only person to blame is the owner.

The driver also parked illegally. They were facing the wrong way.

There’s something I don’t understand here. Where’s automatic emergency braking?!? This is a feature that plenty of cars have had for a long time, and the point of the feature is of course to *override* the driver when he fails to correctly respond to the fact he’s about to run over a person or into an obstacle. When Volvo first introduced this they had a highly entertaining live demo: Their demo car failed to take any action and so ran over the poor guy put in the line of fire for demo purposes! This was not the meaning of Volvo (latin for “I roll”) the company would like to project, so it tried its best to keep a lid on what happened, but eventually a video found its way to YouTube for us to marvel at: But I digress. The point is that, later, the emergency braking features have been much improved and today even many cheap city cars have it. And it supposedly works very well now (see for instance). So why isn’t this active/working on the Teslas?!? In this case it seems pretty implausible that the car could have failed to detect the obstacle. Conversely, if the car… Read more »

Nice rant. But the Model X was in Manual Mode, and flawlessly performed the actions given to it by it’s driver.

Terawatt, you don’t fully understand emergency braking if you think it is to override the drivers actions. I have emergency braking on my car, and it has saved me once, because I took my eyes off the car in front of me while in stop and go traffic and I was letting the car roll. Had I depressed the accelerator pedal, regardless of what the car knew I SHOULD do, it will do what I TELL it to do. Any action by the driver on the pedals will deactivate the emergency braking. It is in the manuals that this is tied to the active cruise control (it works when you are not).

As far as the video of the failure of the Volvo to stop before hitting the pedestrian. I am assuming the correct video as I can’t watch it currently, but believe it is the one at the dealership where there is a small crowd watching.
That was a failure on the dealership as they believed all XC90’s had this feature when it was an option that the car they used did not have.

I fully agree that a car’s safety systems should prevent a crash, even when the driver keeps pushing the accelerator pedal and is in manual mode.

I see no reason to turn off the safety systems when pressing the accelerator. I remember a video where a Tesla brakes hard to avoid hitting another car that was not very well visible and suddenly crossed the road. Safety systems did the job there while I’m pretty sure the driver did not notice the problem yet and kept pressing the accelerator for a fraction of a second.

I do too. The car should be smarter than the driver.

And IF there is a case where you need to override the system, make the driver go through several steps to ignore the sensors. After 5 minutes or a power cycle, the car reverts to normal operation.

I tend to agree, but let me give you a crazy example where you will change your mind.
Your wife and kids are in the vehicle with you when someone tries to box you in to kidnap you. Are you going to be happy that the vehicle will not let you strike/push the car that is trying to block you in?
There are always going to be back and forth as far as what we want systems to control or allow us to control. The ultimate responsibility lies in the person behind the wheel.

When I wrote my post I was thinking of possible “what ifs”. That’s why I put the disclaimer that you would be able to override it IF necessary.

DonC, in general I agree with your statements, although I have no information regarding the Tesla X or S – that’s why I made the statement on the Audi 5000.

Most people do not understand the need for fail safe construction.

Now, In my Roadster, I believe they had generally gotten rid of any software problems before I purchased it – the only ‘bug’ was in the “No Regeneration” routine, which was not safety related
very much.

My volt initially had more software trouble, mainly the heater controls dying, along with the ‘pedestrian alert’.

Driveability in the volt I only found 1 problem, and to ‘find’ it you had to quickly switch between normal and mtc modes.

The end result was “R” moved the car forward, and “D” backward.

That conceivably COULD have caused a problem but I shut down the car and forced a warm-reboot.

The ‘software recall’ done a few years ago greatly decreased the number of noticeable problems.

Good point. Tesla should have the log files and be able to tell exactly which pedal was being pushed at the time…..

Definitely unintended acceleration. Highly likely not the vehicle, which isn’t to say the driver doesn’t believe that it was.

‘Massive damage to the building’ Really? This description alone leads me to suspect the driver even more. People who exaggerate are not to be trusted to use reason about their own actions.

Right. An it it climbed 39 feet over planters?
How can that be when the X is only like 16 feet long and 1/4 of it still in the parking lot.

The total cumulative distance each of the four wheels traveled over the planters was 39 ft, obviously. 😛

I see that everyone is immediately blaming the driver.

I want to go there too, but isn’t it remotely possible that there could be an issue with the vehicle that should be investigated? Maybe wait until those results are back before driver blame is assumed.

When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras…


Depends on where you live. 😉


Fair point. However, we’ve seen this scenario so often, with all sorts of brands, that the probabilities strongly favor it not being the car.

The prototypic scenario is an older driver backing up. Not sure this is the case here but quite possible.

Plus for the Tesla fanboys it’s NEVER the Tesla always the driver. Even when it’s not. LOL

The only thing I can think of that’s worse than a fanboy, is an anti-fanboy. They take their fanboy hatred to such a level that they may as well become their own unique class of fanboy, aimed at hating other fanboys.

See how stupid this whole ‘fanboy’ shit you Americans love talking about truly is?

Nah, Tesla fanboys are much worse. They usually resort to ad hominem (personal) attacks rather than rebutting/discussing the point or claim made by the person that they are attacking by calling them Trolls, FUDsters, short-sellers, etc. They’re basically middle-aged cyber bullies and forum tough guys.

Oh the irony. Your comment could serve as the poster child of an ad hominem attack.

Kettle, meet Mr. Pot. Yer both full ‘o hate. 😉

lol internet.

sven whinged:

“Tesla fanboys are much worse. They usually resort to ad hominem (personal) attacks rather than rebutting/discussing the point or claim made by the person that they are attacking by calling them Trolls, FUDsters, short-sellers, etc.”

That complaint might be taken better if it did not come from someone who was once chastised by the InsideEVs Staff for making a post which appeared to be written and placed with the deliberate intention of provoking outraged reaction from Tesla fans. That, sven, is the very definition of “troll”.

Perhaps you don’t practice anti-Tesla trolling in your own eyes. But you certainly do in the eyes of others. Many others.

Bite me.

Cognitive Therapy would be far more constructive, than requesting people to bite you.

Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the lingo used in the English language.


So Sven, what % of the legitimate people on here have a beef with this “Person”?

One X owner called him a Jerk-Off.
Another X owner told him to “Knock-it-off”.

He criticizes the posts of mine which are over his head, and since your posts are often more sophisticated than my own, I’m sure they leave him totally clueless.

What makes it worse, for Tesla, is many people are stepping out of grossly under-powered cars and into the first Model X deliveries, which are basically all ~3 second cars.

I’m sure those few feet off the parking lot went quick.

You right you need to have good driver skills to get into a P Tesla.

Of course it needs to be investigated. Previous incidents were investigated. I think there have been about 5 we know of in the past 4 years.

With about 130,000 vehicles on the road, if this was a real problem, we’d have a much higher incident rate. And likely something that many of us would detect in our normal driving, given the customer base that are Tesla owners.

Still, yes, it should be investigated.

With the Prius they tried to blame it on tin whiskers, poorly written software, and ghosts in the machine.

Not quite the same… but I did this with my ride on mower a couple weeks ago. Turning close the fence, realized I might not clear it, and went for the brake…. hit the gas instead. The mower radically accelerated and hit the fence!

And what’s funny, the brake is on the complete other side of the mower (left foot only) and I still made that mistake!

So yeah, skeptical of this one.

PS. No damage to mower or fence. John Deere FTW!

I almost hit my house yesterday because I grabbed the wrong bar and hit the self propel….

Kosh, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that lots of folks have done the same thing with mowers with the brake on the left side. People are used to using their right foot to brake in their cars. The subconscious mind still wants to use the right foot to brake, even if the conscious mind knows the pedal is on the left side.

Only a matter of time before Tesla releases a blow by blow account of how they were NOT at fault and the driver was 100% at fault.

Yes, likely the usual “…our logs show that the car performed flawlessly” boiler plate.

PS: I’m not saying who’s to blame. No one can know from a distance. The driver may indeed have confused brakes and pedals. But we simply don’t know. Blaming the driver before any INDEPENDENT investigation took place is cheap. Some commenters seem to be eager to blame the driver immediately.

I would normally think the driver was to blame, but since the car was only 5 days old, there is a chance that a part could have failed to cause the wreck. Has anyone ever heard of the bathtub curve for parts failures? I would hope Tesla would admit it if it was a parts failure, but you just don’t know if you can trust in these large companies anymore.

Just what part are you suggesting might have failed to cause a car to accelerate at maximum speed when you press the brake pedal?

Of course we can’t know with absolute certainty that the driver was pushing the accelerator when he thought he was pushing the brake, but the history of such accidents and Occam’s Razor both point to that being the most likely case. Occam’s Razor also says that the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.

Only conspiracy theorists favor more complex explanations over simpler ones. Well, in this case, conspiracy theorists and Tesla short-selling FUDsters. 😉

I doubt it will be “boilerplate”. The last “crash” was with the summon feature and the trailer. Tesla gave a second-by-second overview of what happened. Far from boilerplate.

Was the owner of this X named Anton Wahlman by any chance? LOL

Hopefully the owner was Mark B. Spiegel (aka “Logical Thought” aka “Three Electrics”) 😀

At least, he claims to have bought a Tesla car recently, altho that seems highly unlikely given all his Tesla bashing.


It was the Koch brothers. They hacked the car’s computer to make it accelerate. Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin helped.


I presume this is sarcasm, since the people listed, can’t even hack their way out of a brown paper bag.

Some day we will see hackers “over the air” and they take control of your car on highway and play a bit gran tourismo, live with the cameras in your car.

I think you’ve been watching too many Mission: Impossible type movies.

Or not…

Like they already did with the Jeep last year. Except for the camera idea…

Woah! Didn’t know that. I mean everything with a internet connection could be hacked, if there is a genius or an issue. Nearly every week you read some famous companies data leaks…
Not to many Mission impossible, like Toyota: everything is possible :-).

Since Tesla has a forward facong camera they use for various aspects of vehicle control – as in lane leeping or other functions, could they not add one more that points down at the pedals in such a manner as to record (and replay, for Tesla, Owner, and Emergency Services, to observe the unintended accelerations foot dance cause, at the pedals), instead of just a pedal movement, angle, change delta rate, as line items in a log data dump?

That way, an owner could either review what they did with their big feet, or in distracted excitement, or be shown the video in an email response from Tesla!

Sure, logs can refute a claim, but a video of your feet doing the Texas Two Pedal Happy Dance between go and stop pedals, just kills the whole point of blaming the tech, and making a claim!

Plus, this one lasted 5 days, I do remember something of a new Model S Owner crashing right on the lot on pickup day, I think it was. Under an hour after signing!!

My thought is that these sorts of accidents will tend to increase as brakes are used less often. People will rarely use the brake so the almost automatic reaction to press it, will be overtaken by the ingrained action of hitting the accelerator pedal.

So after just getting the vehicle and taking people around to show off the acceleration, say you do that 50 times or so in the week you have had the car, you have placed that repetitive action in your brain and will default to it, unless you make a conscious effort to hit the brake.

Definitely. The more we introduce automation, the less capable of driving manually people will become.

I have read your ruminations with interest on this subject and it seems this is just additional evidence for that belief.

Google agrees with you:

“Google restructured its autonomous car program in 2014 after the concerning results of an experiment in which Google employees could use self-driving prototypes. People quickly became complacent about the technology’s abilities, despite the fact that they were supposed to be ready to take over at all times.”

“One guy noticed that his cell-phone battery was low, pulled out his laptop, and plugged it in at 65 miles per hour on the freeway,” Chris Urmson, who leads Google’s project, said at the EmTech event today. “We thought, this is not good.” Google committed itself to car designs without steering wheels or pedals, piloted by software alone. . .”


I’d like to see an article and discussion of that!

That subject is far more interesting than a report about a driver crashing a Tesla car then making obviously false claims while trying to blame the car for what was most likely driver error.


Yeah, the first thing to learn as an EV driver with regen like a Tesla is that when one panics, first let go of all pedals… regen kicks in. Then choose the brake pedal.

A P90D Model X just isn’t very forgiving with that much acceleration on tap for someone to stomp on the accelerator like it was the brake. Ideally, a new driver should spend some serious time in a large empty parking lot getting used to the driving controls.

ffbj said:

“…you have placed that repetitive action in your brain and will default to it, unless you make a conscious effort to hit the brake.”

Oh, please. So long as people are learning to accelerate the car by pushing the accelerator, they will also learn to brake by pushing the brake pedal. It doesn’t take that long for this to become a trained reflex that you don’t have to think about.

And that’s the problem here. As Nix explained at length above, in a panic situation you may not realize you are pressing the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, and your foot keeps pushing harder in reaction to your mind wanting the car to brake harder. It’s precisely because it’s a reflex action rather than the result of conscious thought, that causes this type of accident.

Although Nix made an excellent point, the effects of one-pedal-driving will only make these situations more common.

There have been a number of Tesla and BMW drivers who have said that they hardly touched the brake pedal at all during a trip across town.

Unintended ?/ Tuff call …my Audi 5000 did it , I stood on the Brake & as I hit the Kill Switch with No consequences….I wanted Audi to investigate & They said I was full of it & sent me away < meanwhile it was a huge & "REAL" problem with the Audi 5000… this was in 1988…I HAVE NEVER OR WILL EVER BUY OR EVEN LOOK AT AN VW AUDI PRODUCT AS A RESULT…

You obviously just drank your own bathwater, as you accused me of doing.

Sudden Unintended acceleration is very common today with all cars. It is the electronic software defects that causes cars to suddenly acceleration. Check out Bookout vs Toyota where expert Michael Barr testified and Toyota lost its case and end up settling pending cases of unintended acceleration..

Mr. Hadi,
Not to get into the weeds too much here, but I did hear testimony from Toyota’s VP of engineering stating that all of the TOYOTA’s have redundant processors that ‘watch each other’ and generate NMI’s (non-maskable interrupts) should there be a discrepancy.

This is the type of ‘fail safe’ engineering I would want on any ‘Drive by Wire’ system.

So my question to you is, what went wrong in the ‘field’ – was there something preventing the ‘insane recovery routine’ from restoration?

No, it’s very uncommon. That’s why it took so long to realize that there really was something wrong with Toyota’s cars which caused sudden runaway acceleration. In 999 cases out of 1000, or even more, it’s driver error.

It also doesn’t help when drivers exaggerate the problem they had, apparently in an effort to increase the chance they’ll get a good insurance settlement. Exaggerations like claiming your Model X climbed “over 39 feet of planters”, when the photo clearly shows it was only about 6-8 feet over the planters when it was stopped by the wall.

I always learned an article should include Who, What, Why, Where, and When. Anyone know WHERE this happened?

Just thinking, this really puts the “Sport” back in ‘Sport Utility Vehicle!’

As in, “Be a Sport, try taking out that builing, a few bricks at a time!”; and “New Sporting Event – watching unsuspecting drivers hit the GO Pedal on a car with more instantanious power and torque on tap than anything they have driven in their life before, and doing it with solid objects in the way!”

Or, maybe, he was trying to get Tesla to “Be a Sport” and buy him a new one!?

Sport utility ? or maybe., 0ffRoad Vehicle??

Interesting how the side-curtain airbags pop up from what appears to be the falcon wing door sill.

I have a couple of questions.

Do the FW door side-curtain airbags go up and over second row seat? In the second pic, it appears to also cover the ceiling part of the driver-side FW door, but on the passenger-side FW door it appears that it doesn’t cover the ceiling part.

Is there a side-cutain airbag for the third row seats?

Is that a torso airbag (white tube shaped thing) on the driver-side second row seat? I was expecting it to be bigger/more-substantial.

What is that on the floor of the second row? A cake? I just realized that with second row seat pedestals instead of seat backs, objects (ie: a cake) placed in the trunk could shoot to into the second row along the floor in a frontal collision. Second row seat backs would prevent/block objects from sliding along the floor into the second row in a frontal collision.

“climbing over 39 feet of planters”, I had heard the X was big, but over 39 feet long, that SUV is huge.

Duh, it means the distance travelled across the planters. But we both can see from this image it’s FAR from being 39 feet.

“Humor… a difficult concept.”

Ignoring the funny joke . . . the Model X was much smaller in person than I thought it would be. That’s why it has such a good Cd I guess.

One of these days they’re going to have to start putting high ISO cameras in the footwells that record and discard short loops like a crash cam does, just so they can see which pedal was actuated.

Most likely this is driver error, but that won’t ease the mind of my wife, who finds Tesla’s hardware and software to be so buggy that she never uses autopilot, and fears for the safety of the drivetrain. Regardless of the cause, not good for Tesla. The worst case scenario is the kind of $1.2B fine levied against Toyota for their own unintended acceleration issues, but that affected six million cars.

I’ll just leave this here:

Oh Michael.

Now that would be a sweet “easter egg”…as would “ski mode” or even a drift mode…

This is a little bit different than other green machines that may not have even been able to climb the embankment had the wrong pedal been pushed. I think many of these drivers are coming out of low-performing pretty ordinary Green Machines getting into 500 plus horsepower instant torque all-wheel-drive monsters

I had a lady rear end me at a red light recently. She claimed that her foot slipped or the car accelerated on it’s own. My rear dash cam showed her staring down right at the radio and just accelerating when the turning lain next to her went. She never looked up until she hit the back of me.

This certainly could be completely the driver’s fault.

However, even if we assume the driver mashed the accelerator, I’m disappointed that the Model X didn’t override the driver’s stupidity when it sense a building directly in front of it.

I’m blaming the building for not getting out of the way.

I blame the building for jumping in the way!

I have the same thoughts. With the forward facing camera, there should be a way to identify that the roadway is ending at at least limit the max torque available. These incidences are rare, so you can’t expect Tesla to spend lots of time or increase the vehicle cost for it (with and extra sensor).

Maybe with AutoPilot 2.0 sensor suite it will be easier to handle this scenario.

IF it’s a “two pedal” incident …. (hitting both the brake and the gas)

In a regular old gas car you would have:
1. Revving engine noise, which would alert you that you’re on the wrong pedal.
2. More time to figure it out

Silent and “Ludicrous” acceleration likely makes the two pedal incident more likely to result in a crash.

Life With Tesla Model S: UPDATE On Pedal Placement Problem

Is the pedal placement the same on the X as on the S?

I believe Tesla quietly changed the pedal placement on new Model S cars sometime after that Green Car Reports article, but did not recall or fix/change the pedal placement on Model S cars already on the road.

I don’t remember it being reported on InsideEVs, but I recall a tragic news story of a Model S owner crashing through his garage wall and driving into a swimming pool where he drowned. He was doing a good deed at the time, driving his neighbor to a cancer treatment. She managed to free herself and survived, unfortunately the could not free himself and drowned.


Curious why the auto-braking emergency type stuff even let this happen (assuming driver error)?

If you’re on the brake (2 pedal incident) then the auto braking will not participate.

That makes sense if that’s the actual logic used in the code.

One would think they had “brake kill” logic to not allow the accelerator to work if the brakes are engaged.
That eliminates the 2 pedal incident.

Well that code should be fixed.

If there is a building directly in front of you, it should not accelerate quickly no matter what you do. I do not expect this for most cars . . . but for a $100K Model X with all the fancy sensors . . . I expect better.

So the Model X does not have collision avoidance?
It didn’t see that bigass building in front of it?

I’m sure the logs will reveal that it was accelerating but does it show the actual physical position of the accelerator pedal? Or does it just show the “signal” received was to accelerate?

……or someone hit the summon mode from inside the building?


Tesla has a challenge.

It’s current only vehicles are priced to where 90% will be over 50 and pushing 60. While at the same time offering very high and new tech, along with tremendous power. Not the best combination for those in advanced age and reducing cognitive/physical/reflexive abilities.

Which means the ‘mistakes’ will be exaggerated, but luckily the Model S and Model X are the safest vehicles on the road.

However, this incident again points to Tesla models(all cars really) needing to have a ‘fail safe/self preservation’ feature that won’t allow the vehicle to contact another object, without the owner answering two question on the display indicating they want to do it. No matter what the driver does.

…in addition.

With this being an electric car and completely silent, it would be very easy for a driver to turn it on, put it in gear, get distracted in the car(phone, eating, digging through purse, reach to the back seat to get something, etc), accidentally press the gas peddle and away it goes.

Again….Tesla Fail Safe/Preservation mode that protects the car from the owner.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where nobody wants to be accountable for their own mistakes. Rather, everyone wants to find somebody else to blame. I’m not a Tesla fanboy. I try to be objective. And I’ll say the same thing I’d say no matter what brand of car it was:

The situation described is almost certainly driver error. Even many of the Toyota incidents were driver error. Even if your gas pedal is stuck down due to a floor mat or something like that, driver ignorance is still to blame when they are driving 100 mph down the highway and claim they can’t stop their vehicle because they don’t understand the basic operation of their own vehicle.

How is it possible, in a car with so many sensors, enough to drive itself in fact, to ram into a building from a driveway? It baffles me. That’s the real question here. In the same vain, How can an S or an X run into a truck or into anything, really?
I have a Neato Botvac vaccum cleaner and guess what? It does not ram into anything and it slows down to gently touch the obstacle then turns away from it.
How come the car let’s the driver ram into an obstacle? shouldn’t the car disable the accelerator pedal or forbid the car to move into something? As a TSLA investor, those events pisse me off, real bad! A car with so much power and AI should not allow itself OR the driver to ram into obstacle, period. Tesla needs to wake up, NOW!
I don’t care who’s at fault here, humans will always be humans and they will make mistakes. It’s Tesla duty to update the car ASAP so that slow speed accident NEVER happens again or should Neato get in touch with Tesla? It’s Ridiculous.

Why do these unintended acceleration stories always seem to come from America?

Tell us what do you think is the reason for your observation.


Because in our culture is always somebody else’s fault. A lawyer up society.

Auto accidents, and car fires, are very rarely reported as news because they’re so common. EVs are an exception because they’re perceived as “different” and therefore newsworthy, at least in the American press.

If the American press tends to report such things where the European press doesn’t, then perhaps the question you should be asking is about the differences in European vs. American culture among reporters.

Was the auto-pilot engaged?
Was the pedal actually pressed?
Do they capture actual throttle position or just what the computer ‘sees’.

And other unknowns.

Until some third-party investigates, this one is a mystery.

Oh, and BTW, ACC/AEB on my ELR does not detect stationary objects either.

I think this is done to avoid false positives. For example, if you get too close to a curved wall on the freeway, it would be very inconvenient for the car to slam on the brakes.

And also very difficult to program this kind of intelligence into a car.

Good point.

This is another scenario the cruise control is set 50 mph last time used, then the driver turn on the cruise control on roads of slower speed, the car accelerate however if is an obstacle reduce the speed, but is you don’t know your car perhaps the driver panicking.

I also had something like this (not Tesla). Reason: The car mat moved too much towards the pedals. For some reason when lifting my foot again after accelerating, the mat made a small “hill” and therefore pushed the gas pedal.
I simply pulled it away from the pedals and everything was fine. I could have also hit the clutch pedal (or just pull the gear out).
I think that car was so old, that the brake pedal would have to “fight” against the motor (=brake pedal doesn’t stop gas pedal “signal”). But in current cars that should be normal?!


Remember those people who died when their runaway Camry crashed at 100+ miles per hour because the accelerator was stuck?

Why didn’t the simply turn off the car? Or shift to neutral? Are people really THAT helpless at the (fairly simple) low-level controls of an automobile?

I feel for their families but, at some point, it was their own fault for not being able to apply some basic reasoning about how to save themselves.

I mean, they seemingly had *minutes* running at high speed to think of what to do. But, what did they do? — they called 911 instead of just turning the car off.

I wonder about that too. The other thing I think is slam on the emergency break and shove the car into park. Ok, that last one will wreck the transmission, but if you life is in danger…You could also just put it in neutral, hard to accelerate when it’s not in gear. Bottom line in most cases people are just idiots.

I don’t know it to be fact, but I thought part of the problem was that the electronically controlled Toyota transmission just said “I can’t downshift now, it’ll destroy the drivetrain” and therefore ignored the driver’s input when they downshifted, put it in park, and/or pressed the off button. (I thin the car in question had keyless ignition.)

Many new cars don’t have the mechanical linkages that we grew up with, so the proper response can be vastly different than expected.

My current car simply will not downshift if doing so will damage the drivetrain.

Yes, but you should always be able to shift to neutral. Or, like I said, cut the ignition.

Not necessarily, if its an electronically controlled transmission and has keyless ignition. Depends on the year, make and model. And maybe even the revision of the drivetrain control computer…

Not sure how steering would be once you turn off the the car.

But seems like a better to take the chance of slowing to a possible wreck, than a guaranteed full-power, high-speed crash.

I do remember where everyone died.

From the commenters here, it seems people aren’t thinking through how bad things can happen.

‘Why not just shut off the car’

You push the button to shut off the car and nothing happens.

‘Why not just put it in Neutral’

There is no mechanical linkage to PUT the car in neutral – the automatic transmission is also computer controlled – and in this case the car effectively said ” I don’t want to go into neutral now, I’ll do it later”.

This apparently happens on many brands of cars, my 2011 VOLT had trivial problems this way, and apparently, while my relatively late 2011 Roadster was more or less fine regarding driveability, earlier versions had software problems – George Clooney being pissed off that the car left him stranded all the time – to Tesla’s credit, at least it totally died and didn’t software wise floor the gas pedal.

A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement after reviewing the vehicle’s logs:

“We analyzed the vehicle logs which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles.”

And i stand by my first post in this thread….

Human error was always the most likely cause.

That said, some people (such as the driver) may assume that Tesla’s automatic emergency braking feature prevents accidents such as these, but that is not so.

Tesla’s statement hardly proves it’s a driver error : because in the event of an accelerator pedal malfunction or a computer bug, the recorded data would be exactly the same.

Hypothesis #1 (driver error)
– driver confuses accelerator and brake pedals
– driver pushes harder and harder until it reaches 100%
– crash

Hypothesis #2 (accelerator malfunction)
– pedal sensor fails and reports 100% even though it isn’t pressed
– driver is stunned and does not have time to react
– crash

Hypothesis #3 (accelerator malfunction)
– pedal sensor fails and reports 100% even though it isn’t pressed
– driver is stunned and presses the wrong pedal (no change in sensor information)
– crash

Hypothesis #4 (computer bug)
– computer believes the accelerator pedal is depressed 100%
– computer records accelerator sensor 100%
– no matter what the driver does, the computer does not listen
– crash

Exactly – three of the four scenarios lead to misleading conclusions , and have done so in one way or another for at least the past 50 years.

People in general are much too trusting of what ‘computers’ say.

But the computer industry themselves is partly to blame, – attributing human characteristics to a mechanized device, as for example calling formerly “STORAGE – Memory”, and calling the “PROCESSOR – Electronic Brain”, as 2 simple examples.

Since the logs are not independently generated from the car’s computer system, they are of little value and I personally wouldn’t trust them. But since there is such a high ‘generic’ believe that ‘the COMPUTER said it, therefore it must be SO’, (as witnessed by the many other comments here), you can bet any automaker would use this defense – even as Audi blamed the drivers almost 30 years ago now. The reasonable question to ask in the Audi 5000 case was: 1). 30 years ago Rich people bought many different brands of cars – why are almost all the crashes Audi’s and then of this particular 5000 model? As mentioned, it was DECIDED from ON HIGH that the driver was an idiot, even though the car autonomously destroyed his swimming pool after destroying the back of his garage. TO me, it is obvious what happened: Since the computer systems control 1) The Gas Pedal (via cruise control) and, 2) The Brakes (via anti-lock), and, 3) The Ignition Switch (computerized shut-down), the end result was there was no backup plan for the driver, and it is an exceedingly dangerous situation since you are riding around in a flying coffin if… Read more »

Remember the Audi 5000
“pedal placement was different enough from American cars’ normal set-up (closer to each other) to cause some drivers to mistakenly press the gas instead of the brake.”


It says on page 42 of the owners manual:


Can’t these people read?

They thought the snowshoes were okay because they ordered the cold-weather package.


Clearly, my 1.6di Touran is a safer car than any Tesla. I can safely put the pedal to the metal with no risk of neck injury, and I have plenty of time to remove my foot before picking up too much speed 🙂

From the driver’s report:

“suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own…”

Translation: I pushed the accelerator when I mean to hit the brake.

“…climbing over 39 feet of planters…”

In the photo, it appears to be about 6-8 feet. Are your other assertions here equally exaggerated?

“Consequently, the airbags were deployed and caused burn marks on his wife’s arms.”

Would you have preferred they not deploy in a crash?

“…the car only stopped because it hit and caused massive damage to the building.”

Looks like mainly cosmetic damage, mostly to the wooden siding, without actually breaking through the wall, let alone being “massive damage”. Yeah, equally exaggerated.

Reminds me of the insurance claim where the driver wrote “I was driving along, minding my own business, when a tree suddenly jumped out in front of my car.” 😀

I think they left out the decimal point: 3.9 feet.

I wonder if the transition to 100% throttle was instantaneous or occurred over X hundreds of millseconds. An instantaneous change could indicate a vehicle fault, whereas a rising (sloped) throttle value transition points to driver error.

I was wondering the same thing…

Unfortunately there are probably very few drivers that should be driving a car with this amount of instantaneous torque. If I had one of these, the torque limit would definitely be set to a lower limit. You just don’t need this kind of acceleration in the city. The car just responds so fast that the typical driver can’t handle it.

You’d think an important safety feature of any high-tech automobile would be for the car to sense from the surroundings (e.g., pulling into a parking spot) that commanded acceleration should not be applied, or at least be very curtailed.

In fact, I would have *expected* that kind of intelligence from a Tesla automobile at this point (with the boatload of sensors it has).

“…for the car to sense from the surroundings (e.g., pulling into a parking spot) that commanded acceleration should not be applied, or at least be very curtailed.”

Speaking as a computer programmer: We are a very, very long way from software “expert systems”, often mislabeled with the grandiose title of “artificial intelligence”, having sufficiently sophisticated analysis routines to be able to discern when the car is in a low-speed zone like a parking lot.

We’re still at the point of Tesla’s Autosteer (Beta) having problems discerning the difference between the highway and an off-ramp.

No 39 feet or planters here

I think it is 3.9 feet.

Probably driver error because new car had pedals too close to each other. I would not want to own a car that accelerates when both gas and brake pedals are pressed though.

But claiming that computer logs can prove anything is total BS on Tesla part. You can’t know anything about actual pedal pressed from logs unless you have video of pedals, you just log that car computer received a gas signal. Tesla can’t know how exactly the signal was generated, driver foot or faulty pedal electrics.

And it looks like auto-braking failure too.

Go back to ITT. You’re drunk.

zzzzzzzzzz continued his anti-Tesla FUD campaign:

“But claiming that computer logs can prove anything is total BS on Tesla part.”

No, the total B.S. is yet another serial Tesla bashing post from zzzzzzzzzz.

“claiming that computer logs can prove anything is total BS on Tesla part.”

This is what I was wondering. Even with triple redundancy (3 sensors, CPU, etc), there is finite probability of failure. I don’t think Tesla system is as robust. For that matter, I don’t think any “drive-by-wire” accelerator pedals are triple redundancy (or more) robust.

You are right in that we’ll never know with 100% certainty just because computer log said so. But since almost all drive-by-wire accelerator pedals in the wild perform well, even in vibrating gas cars, this Tesla crash is in all probability due to driver error with almost 100% certainty.

Not all really. Toyota is famous for sticky gas pedals. Even if most of the cases later were just fraud for settlement and statistically Toyota isn’t special, it all started from real world problems and Toyota paid 1.2 billion as criminal penalty for misleading and hiding of information.

Assuming both gas pedal potentiometer signals are logged at high frequency, you may figure out something if you know how they changed over the time. But “abruptly increased” just sounds fishy. How abruptly exactly? 0% to 100% in 10 milliseconds in one step? It would point to software bug, not driver error.

Automotive Event Data Recorders (AKA black boxes) have been in cars for decades, and in 2006 NHTSA created regulations for EDR’s. This includes how and what data they collect.

EDR’s are in the majority of cars built today, and their data is accepted in courts of law in all 50 states.

Are you claiming that Tesla builds an EDR that violates the 2006 EDR standards set by NHTSA? That is a pretty tall accusation, that you should back up with evidence. Otherwise you are committing the crime of slander.

An honest person would retract an accusation that they didn’t realize was slanderous. What will you do?


Apparently, the data logs from this car show driver error.

Tesla didn’t disclosed raw data and it is interested party, so how can we know?

Shouldn’t the car disregard such a request?

Try it with your car, and tell us what it does.

No, no it should NOT disregard ANY commands we give. At this point, humans are still “smarter” than computers at driving vehicles and predicting crashes.

This was a case of human error, pure and simple. Until we get to the point where autonomous driving, level 4, is available and reliable, there are still going to be cases of human error.

E.g Volvo and not just Volvo car DO STOP in front of obstacle. It is mandatory for full size trucks in Europe since 2015. Old tech by now really.