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Valet Driver Crashes Model 3 Through A Wall And Blames Autopilot But Tesla’s Black Box (EDR) Shows The Truth

The kind of content Tesla provides us to write about is probably next to none. We keep reading about the different incidents that happen with Tesla cars, each bizarre in its own way. And yet, some of these are incidents are quite horrifying, especially for the owners and other involved people. One such incident has come to light in the past few days. It starts with a mistake from a valet driver and goes on to record more than $100,000 in damages. Read on to know all details.

Actual Incident

Since the incident is undergoing litigation, the owner of the car hasn’t been named. We can call him Ben.

Ben had parked his Model 3 Performance in a parking garage. He handed over his keys to the valet driver to get his car out of the rather narrow garage. The first few turns of the multi-storey garage were normal, but suddenly, out of the blue, the car accelerated and crashed into a parked vehicle. What’s more shocking is that the impact sent the parked vehicle backwards through the wall and almost ended up falling from the first floor. Ben was standing just outside the garage and could not believe his eyes when a car almost fell through the wall on the first floor.

The valet driver’s reaction was even more horrifying. Stumbling out of the Model 3, he started claiming that the vehicle went into Autopilot mode on its own, and crashed into the parked vehicle. Ben, of course, didn’t believe him, and quickly checked the TeslaCam footage. The footage wasn’t exactly conclusive, and thus began his battle with insurance companies and the garage owners.

Garage Owner Pleads Innocent

The garage management did not take responsibility, with an ‘unintended acceleration’ excuse. Ben now knew that he had to keep track of every single thing if he wanted to fight this till the end. He then contacted Tesla for a copy of the EDR (event data recorder) report.

The EDR is the black box of the vehicle, recording the minutest of details. This includes the extent to which the pedal is being pressed, G-forces acting on the car at all times, which settings were on and off, which airbags deployed. It even shows the weight of the driver. So Ben knew that getting this report was his trump card.

Funnily enough, the company claimed that due to legal reasons, they could not provide it, since Ben was outside California. This seemed odd to data, and he now admits that if his lawyer had contacted the company, he probably could’ve got it. Instead, he went to an EDR technician, who charged him $1,300.

Results of the EDR Report

First of all, the EDR report is 70 pages long, which, in itself, is staggering. It tells you much data Tesla is recording, and how minutely every single thing is being monitored. Interestingly enough, the report showed that the valet driver wasn’t even wearing his seatbelt.

Tesla's Black Box (EDR)

At the time of impact, for 0.4 seconds before the vehicle crashed, the accelerator was at 100% actuation. Similarly, the brakes were not engaged at all. Ben was now able to prove that the ‘unintended acceleration’ claim was false, and the driver had, in fact, pushed the wrong pedal.

Shockingly enough, the garage owner is still refusing to take responsibility. The insurance company has also said that they will reimburse for the damages only after litigation is completed. The total damage on the Tesla was around $24,000, and when combined with the other cars and the property damage to the garage, it goes well over $100,000.

Our Opinion

The incident is still under litigation since the garage owner hasn’t taken responsibility. Ben does have the evidence though, but the fate of his car is still hanging in the balance. It is still unclear as to whether the driver mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal, or if he just wasn’t well-versed with the acceleration a Tesla provides. In any case, it is incidents like these where TeslaCam turns out to be the saviour.

You can watch the entire video here:


Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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