As you know, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating Tesla’s Autopilot system, something critics seem to believe causes more harm than distracted driving. I’ve just chatted with James Law, a wreck technician who is often on the front lines of accidents and has been even struck by drivers failing to observe the “Slow Down and Move Over” or “Stop and Move Over” laws, about this.
He’s even held his own investigation into accidents that have involved a Tesla and a fire truck. In one instance, he told me, the fire truck wasn’t in the proper blocker position, something that can cause momentary confusion for the driver. This, he explained, was left out in the initial reporting.
“The expression ‘tail to the rail, nose to the line’ is for a reason. Emergency vehicles are getting hit every day. The depth perception problem that 15% of the population has is a key factor that is almost always missed in investigations. Tesla has cone ‘wreckognition’ that could have prevented emergency vehicles from getting struck,” James said.
“This year to date, there have been 38 deaths due to ‘struck by’ incidents. There were 19 law enforcement, 13 tow ops, 4 fire, and 2 safety service patrols. None were struck by Tesla vehicles.”
He pointed out that the NHTSA reports that 71% of drives aren’t even aware of the “Slow Down and Move Over” laws, laws which are in place to protect workers like James from being struck while clearing up a wreck scene.
“The NHTSA reports that 71% of drivers are not aware of the slow down move over laws. If Elon Musk adopts E-Mode and the prescribed behavior, Tesla’s fleet and all owners would be aware of these laws, it would be an unprecedented move on behalf of Tesla. Moreover, the fleet and owners would also behave [better],” he added.
James also shared some thoughts on the current NHTSA investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system.
“I agree with Musk that NHTSA does a good job and I look forward to revising their work. If I could predict the outcome, I believe Tesla might solve this 100-year-old problem within the next year. Possible before the reports are released. In the end, it will benefit Tesla and all emergency services and even Tesla’s very own roadside assistance technicians, increasing safety for all road users.”
He also emphasized that, so far, Tesla is the only company that doesn’t have any deaths of emergency personnel on its record.
“Fate loves irony; Tesla being the only company to have zero deaths amongst emergency personnel will solve this problem for all.”
James Has A Solution For Those Who Fail To Observe The “Slow Down And Move Over” Laws
Inspired by his own career as a wreck technician, the deaths of some of his colleagues over the years, and the fact that there seems to be no real solution to distracted driving, James has developed his own technology. It’s called E-Mode, and he’s already tried to pitch it to Tesla. He seemingly hasn’t gotten Tesla’s attention, but he’s not giving up.
James wants Tesla to have this since Tesla is developing the safest cars out there. Tesla uses AI every day to make them safer and safer, and the company has completely changed the way many people drive. James’ idea is to signal to other Teslas and nearby videos when there is some type of anomaly on the road. For Tesla, this would mean a system that would automatically alert other nearby Teslas. It seems to be a brilliant idea.
You can read more about this and read James’ pitch to Elon Musk here: “420 With Elon, The Best Part Will Tesla Wreckonize E-Mode?“