Tesla Autopilot Not Involved in Fatal Newport Beach Crash in 2022

Tesla Autopilot was not involved in the fatal crash that killed three people in Newport Beach, California, in 2022, although at the time the media were quick to suggest otherwise. The driver, who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and exceeded the speed limit, is guilty.

Early on the morning of May 12, a Tesla Model S Plaid moving “in great excess of the speed limit,” crashed into construction equipment on the Pacific Coast Highway, between Old Newport Boulevard and Riverside Avenue, Newport Beach Police Lt. Eric Little said. As a result of the collision, three people were killed and three others who worked on the spot were injured.

The collision in Newport Beach, California was one of the crashes allegedly involving Tesla Autopilot that have been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2016. At the time, the major media published numerous articles irresponsibly hinting that the Tesla Autopilot may have been involved in the accident, although they had no evidence of this. This collision was one of the cases considered during the investigation into the reliability of functions such as Autopilot. The Newport Beach Police MAIT team worked closely with the federal agency, Tesla, and other local agencies to learn everything they could about the moments leading up to the tragedy, according to the Los Angeles Times.

After examining data recorded by the Model S's onboard computer, investigators learned that its Autopilot was not activated at the time of the accident and the vehicle was under driver control. At this point, authorities believe alcohol or drugs and speeding were the main causes of the accident.