A speeding Tesla Model S crashed and burst into flames in Pleasanton on Saturday night, killing the driver, according to police.
The male driver, whose identity has not been released, died in the single-car incident. No one else was injured. Police have not yet determined if drugs or alcohol factored into the crash.
The crash was reported around 6 p.m. at the intersection of West Las Positas Boulevard and Hacienda Drive. The car was on fire when officers arrived.
As the Tesla was headed southbound on Hacienda, the driver appears to have lost control, causing a collision with a traffic signal and a cement wall, police said.
The intersection was closed for several hours.
Anyone with information related to the collision is urged to call 925-931-5100.
Tesla’s electric cars have an automated driver assist system that has been blamed for numerous collisions, including incidents when drivers let the car pilot itself while they slept or watched videos, as well as unexpected swerves or lane changes.
Autopilot is not intended to replace an alert human driver. Palo Alto’s Tesla has added features to prevent drivers from becoming overly reliant on the system, such as detection that drivers have their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating allegations that Teslas can suddenly accelerate on their own. The agency has recorded 127 owner complaints about this phenomenon that led to 110 crashes and 52 injuries.
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