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Teslas Drive 4–7× Further Than Other Cars Before Crashing — Q4 Tesla Safety Report

Tesla has published its quarterly safety report of the fourth quarter of 2018. It shows once again that driving with Autopilot engaged is far safer than not.

Last year, Tesla began releasing a safety report at the end of each quarter. The reports provide information on the number of Tesla automobiles involved in collisions and break the data into two groups — with and without Autopilot active. The data includes things that run into Teslas and well as things Teslas run into. Its second safety report is now out, covering Q4 2018. Here it is in its entirety.

Tesla Model 3

“In the 4th quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.91 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot, we registered one accident for every 1.58 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 436,000 miles.”

In its first report covering the third quarter of 2018, the company said cars with Autopilot engaged were involved in a crash every 3.34 million miles and without Autopilot every 1.92 million miles. Why were there more crashes in Q4 compared to Q3? The data don’t suggest an answer but likely factors include fewer daylight hours and more slippery road conditions. The larger point is that Teslas in general drive more than 3.6 to 6.7 times further without being involved in a collision than ordinary cars, a statistic that should be of significant interest to insurance companies.

The Autopilot stats compared to all other vehicles are interesting as well. People driving an ordinary Belchfire 5000 are likely to be involved in a collision about once every ½ million miles, while people driving a Tesla and using Autopilot are likely to be involved in a collision about once every 3 million miles. Has Elon Musk’s thesis that Autopilot is safer than a human driver been proven yet? Perhaps, but we’ll leave that calculation to the statisticians.

As The Drive puts it, “Overall, Tesla’s statistics suggest that vehicles with Autopilot engaged that are being driven on supported roadways in ideal conditions are 85 percent less likely to get into an automobile accident than the average driver who is presumably not using any form of ADAS while piloting their vehicle.” They aren’t statisticians either and haven’t conducted a rigorous regression analysis, as far as we’ve seen, but it’s an interesting comment.

Are Tesla’s expensive? Yes, they are. But do they offer good value for the money? They do if you value your safety. In the world of motorcycle owners and race car drivers, a frequent question is, “How much should I pay for a helmet?” The best answer is another question: “How much is your head worth?” Are Teslas worth more than other cars? You decide.

By the way, if you found all of that interesting, you are legally required to check out our free EV Safety Advantage report. Did we mention it’s free?

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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