Tesla in Full-Self Driving Mode Caused 8 Car Pile-Up on Bay Bridge: Report [Updated]

Nine people were injured in the Thanksgiving Day crash.

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Brand new Tesla cars sit in a parking lot at a Tesla showroom on June 27, 2022 in Corte Madera, California
Brand new Tesla cars sit in a parking lot at a Tesla showroom on June 27, 2022 in Corte Madera, California
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

A Thanksgiving Day crash that injured nine people and snarled traffic on I-80 in the San Francisco Bay area may have been caused by a driver in a Tesla with Full-Self Driving mode engaged. At least, that’s what the driver told the California Highway Patrol, according to police reports obtained by CNN.

Updated December 22, 2022 12:30 p.m.: Local news ABC7 has more details on the crash that occurred on the Bay Bridge:

The report states that the Tesla Model S was traveling at about 55 mph and shifted into the far left-hand lane, but then braked abruptly, slowing the car to about 20 mph. That led to a chain reaction that ultimately involved eight vehicles to crash, all of which had been traveling at typical highway speeds.

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Tesla’s driver-assist technologies, Autopilot and “full self-driving” are already being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following reports of unexpected braking that occurs “without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive.”

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Eight vehicles were damaged and nine people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries in the incident:

California Highway Patrol said in the Dec. 7 report that it could not confirm if “full self-driving” was active at the time of the crash. A highway patrol spokesperson told CNN Business on Wednesday that it would not determine if “full self-driving” was active, and Tesla would have that information.

The crash occurred about lunchtime on Thanksgiving, snarling traffic on Interstate 80 east of the Bay Bridge as two lanes of traffic were closed for about 90 minutes as many people traveled to holiday events. Four ambulances were called to the scene.

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The report states that the Tesla Model S was traveling at about 55 mph and shifted into the far left-hand lane, but then braked abruptly, slowing the car to about 20 mph. That led to a chain reaction that ultimately involved eight vehicles to crash, all of which had been traveling at typical highway speeds.

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As CNN points out, this crash occurred just hours after Tesla CEO Elon Musk made FSD Beta available to all drivers, regardless of if they passed the Tesla safe-driving test conducted by an onboard driver-monitoring system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating both Autopilot and FSD Beta after years of inaction. Tesla is now reporting fatal crashes involving FSD. Here’s what the probe has found so far, according to previous reporting:

First reported in August, NHTSA’s probe targeted 11 crashes involving Teslas. Thursday the NHTSA said that it had identified six more crashes, and that 15 injuries were tied to the crashes, including one fatality. The crashes involve collisions with first responder vehicles, though NHTSA indicated Thursday it would be investigating more than that.

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Despite having a head start in advanced driver assistance system technology (Tesla launched Autopilot in 2014) Tesla’s FSD Beta and Autopilot were recently found to be the worst at navigating roads on its own when compared to GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise, according to a fairly non-scientific study by a CNBC reporter.