ARLINGTON — A driver in a Tesla that was on “autopilot” reportedly hit a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office patrol SUV while it was parked on the side of a road Saturday night.
The deputy was in the 25200 block of 103rd Avenue NE near Highway 530 because a vehicle earlier had hit and cracked a utility pole in half, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy parked his SUV on the shoulder of the road and put on the vehicle’s emergency flashing lights before getting out to speak with EMTs and firefighters. About 30 seconds later, a 2015 Tesla Model S crashed into the patrol car’s left side.
There were no injuries.
The driver was given a ticket.
“This is a great reminder that vehicles may have autopilot to assist, but it cannot be relied upon to get you safely from one destination to the next,” the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
At least three people have died in previous U.S. crashes involving Autopilot, which can keep a car centered in its lane and a safe distance behind vehicles in front of it. Tesla is allowing a limited number of owners to test its self-driving system.
The company says in owner’s manuals and on its website that both Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” are not fully autonomous and that drivers must pay attention and be ready to intervene at any time.
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is reviewing whether Tesla is violating a state regulation by advertising its vehicles as being fully autonomous without meeting the legal definition of self-driving.
The Associated Press contributed.
Correction: This story has been modified for the location of the incident, which was northeast of Arlington.