- A Tesla careened through the air and into a Florida house on Friday.
- The accident left two people dead and three more seriously injured, according to local officials.
- The Tesla’s Autopilot was reportedly not engaged during the crash.
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A Tesla plowed through a stop sign and into a home in Florida on Friday.
The accident caused two fatalities and left three other people seriously injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The car was fully airborne when it crashed through the house, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of a Palm Harbor home, video footage of the scene shows.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that officials had said the Tesla had not been using its Autopilot function at the time of the crash.
The software, while controversial, offers access to add-on features that can help prevent accidents like this.
Tesla’s beta “Full Self-Driving” software, a $US10,000 ($AU13,447) or $US199 ($AU268) per month add-on, features stop sign recognition designed to slow a vehicle approaching a stop sign. Newer Teslas also have an automatic emergency braking system that brakes when a vehicle hits something in order to prevent a collision or reduce the velocity of the impact.
The crash took place when a 43-year-old man sped through a stop sign at an intersection near 1498 Caird Way, according to The Associated Press. The Tesla hit a curb, which sent the vehicle into the air and through the home. The vehicle tore through a fence, the front and back wall of the house, as well as part of the roof of the home.
A 69-year-old woman, who was a resident of the house, was hit by the car and died at the scene. A 43-year-old man from Odessa, who was a passenger in the Tesla, died later at the hospital, several local news stations reported.
The accident also left three other individuals seriously injured, including two individuals at the house, as well as the driver, the Florida Highway Patrol told The Associated Press. Per state law, the individuals’ identities were not released to the public by local law enforcement.
It is unknown whether the driver will face any charges as a result of the accident. It has also not been reported how fast the vehicle was going when it careened through the house.
Tesla crashes have come under scrutiny in recent months. Several fatal crashes have occured while the electric cars were on Autopilot – a software that enables a car to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within its lane. The function does not replace the role of a driver, but is intended to make driving easier and cut down on accidents. Each Tesla comes equipped with multiple cameras and sensors to help guide the car.
At least three Tesla drivers have died since 2016 while driving with Autopilot engaged. In two of the accidents, the vehicle failed to stop for tractors that were crossing the road. In the third instance, the car hit a concrete divider on the highway. Despite the crashes, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly said that Teslas are much safer than competitors. There are also plenty of videos online showing Tesla’s safety features helping prevent accidents.
The Florida Highway Patrol and local police did not respond to a request for comment from Insider. A Tesla spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment.