Tesla Model X crashes into gym, driver says it accelerated by itself

A Tesla Model X car slammed into a Florida gym, narrowly missing folks using the equipment there. There were no reports of any injuries.

The accident occurred at an Anytime Fitness gym just north of Tampa on Sunday, with recently released security camera footage (below) of the crash bringing the incident to wider attention.

Tesla hit the headlines in March when a Model X driver died after crashing on a California highway while in semiautonomous Autopilot mode, though the company said the driver failed to respond to warnings given by the system prior to the crash.

In Sunday’s incident, the footage shows a man stepping off a treadmill as the car, whose driver has not been named, plows into the gym at speed, crashing into several pieces of equipment before coming to a halt.

The driver reportedly told police that the car kept accelerating even though she hit the brakes.

Investigators are currently trying to establish whether Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident.

Tesla said in a statement that the company takes the safety of its customers “very seriously,” adding that it was relieved to learn that no one was injured in the accident.

It added: “We investigate the vehicle diagnostic logs in every accident in which a driver claims their car ‘suddenly’ and ‘unexpectedly’ accelerated, and in every case the vehicle’s diagnostic logs confirm that the vehicle operated as designed.

“Accidents involving ‘pedal misapplication,’ in which a driver presses the accelerator pedal by mistake, occur in all types of vehicles, not just Teslas. The accelerator pedals in Tesla vehicles have two redundant sensors that clearly show us when the pedal is physically pressed down, such as by the driver’s foot.”

Tesla will want to establish the cause of the accident as soon as possible, and be keen to show that its technology was not at fault.

In the California crash in March in which the driver died, Tesla said the car’s computer logs showed that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident. But it added that the man behind the wheel had received several visual and audible warnings earlier in the drive, and said his hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. Autopilot is capable of maintaining speed, changing lanes, and self-parking, but Tesla says drivers must still keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road in case of sudden incidents occurring up ahead.

Another gym

Bizarrely, this isn’t the first time a Tesla car has crashed into a Florida gym. In 2016, a Model S vehicle suddenly went out of control and slammed into a fitness facility in Lighthouse Point, about 30 miles north of Miami.

The driver insisted the car accelerated by itself, though Tesla said that, after examining the logs, it believed the driver pressed the accelerator pedal shortly before the accident. Tesla told Electrek at the time that its cars “do not accelerate without the driver instructing it to do so.”

It added that “in every situation where we have received a customer claim about this, the vehicle’s diagnostic logs have confirmed that the acceleration was the result of the driver pressing the accelerator pedal.”

We should soon know if this was the case in Sunday’s accident.


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