Human error or technical failure? The driver at the wheel of a Tesla electric taxi which caused a fatal accident in Paris was indicted on Wednesday and the investigations were entrusted to investigating judges. At the end of his police custody, the 56-year-old driver was indicted for “manslaughter and involuntary injuries by motorized land vehicle” and placed under judicial supervision, a source told AFP. judicial.
An accident of “particular” violence
“My client is really very shocked by the accident which was particularly violent,” reacted to AFP his lawyer, Me Sarah Saldmann. Saturday evening, this man, a taxi driver for 25 years residing in Essonne and who was not on duty, was traveling in the 13th arrondissement of Paris aboard a Tesla electric taxi with his wife and daughters when he lost the vehicle control.
The taxi hit two pedestrians, then a glass container which, under the shock caused by the speed, was thrown in the air and exploded on the ground. The vehicle then hit a traffic light, which was also thrown into the air. Then ended his race in a van in circulation in the middle of the intersection, according to the account of a police source. The accident left one dead and 19 injured, according to the latest report retained by the investigation.
The brake pedal remained blocked, explains the driver’s lawyer
“It’s an accident for him, he did everything to press the brake pedal which got stuck and at the same time the car raced and drove excessively fast,” said Me Saldmann, recalling that this electric model n was not equipped with a handbrake. The vehicle was purchased new “three months ago” and had not presented any difficulty until then, according to the lawyer.
As a precaution, the G7 taxi company announced on Tuesday that it would shut down the 37 Model 3s in its fleet, a model similar to the vehicle involved in the accident. Tesla, which has access to certain technical data, ruled out any technical failure in its car.
Human error or technical failure?
The prosecution, which opened a preliminary investigation on Saturday, entrusted the investigations to investigating judges on Wednesday. The investigation will have to determine, based in particular on technical expertise, whether the accident is the result of human error or a technical failure.
“At this stage we have no technical element that would make us believe that there is a problem of technical malfunction on these models”, underlined on RMC the Minister Delegate for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. According to him, Tesla Europe has not noted “any alert of this type” on the approximately 70,000 Model 3s circulating on the continent. The Tesla Model 3 is the American manufacturer’s bestseller.
250 requests in the United States
The vehicle is not autonomous, but is equipped with a driving assistance on the highway which nevertheless requires you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Several controversies have hit the young but powerful automotive brand regarding the safety of its vehicles.
The US Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) said in January, after reviewing nearly 250 claims, that the accidents cited could not be attributed to a vehicle defect, but rather to “misuse of the pedal”. Tesla also recalled a few thousand Model 3s and Model Ys in June in the United States to inspect and tighten, or even replace, bolts in the brake calipers. “The bolts securing the brake calipers could loosen, the calipers could come loose and come into contact with the rim of the wheel,” according to a document provided by Tesla to NHTSA.