He May Be Tesla's First Death in 'Full Self-Driving'

'Washington Post' links Tesla employee's death to the advanced feature
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2024 11:25 AM CST
He May Be Tesla's First Fatality in 'Full Self-Driving'
A Tesla vehicle charger in Kennesaw, Georgia.   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

The Washington Post may have uncovered the first fatality linked to Tesla's most advanced driver-assistance software, Full Self-Driving. The newspaper's investigation suggests that Hans von Ohain—a Tesla employee—was using FSD on a curvy road in Evergreen, Colorado, in 2022 when the car veered into a tree and burst into flames. Passenger Erik Rossiter survived the crash, and he maintains that his friend was using FSD as they returned from a day of golf—and drinking. What's more, he said the software had been acting up on the way to the golf course that afternoon, but Ohain was always able to grab the wheel and correct it. While dozens of serious or fatal crashes with driver assistance have been reported with Teslas, most have involved the less-advanced Autopilot system, per the Post. This would be the first death connected to FSD.

Tesla declined to comment for the story. Ohain's wife and parents are angry the company isn't taking at least partial responsibility for the crash, though the story notes that Ohain's drinking complicates it. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.26, making him legally drunk. Rossiter acknowledges this but says his friend was "by no means intoxicated" in the car. The story also notes that Tesla manuals warn about using FSD on curvy roads and that the company has long warned that it isn't liable in drunk-driving incidents. Ohain's widow doesn't fully agree. "Regardless of how drunk Hans was, (Elon) Musk has claimed that this car can drive itself and is essentially better than a human," says Nora Bass. "We were sold a false sense of security." Read the full story. (More Tesla stories.)

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