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Tesla crash after flying 82 feet in the air shows importance of a crumple zone (electrek.co)
296 points by vinnyglennon on May 7, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 181 comments

Tangentially related but the comments are the best part IMO:

> Anton Korn 2 days ago

> I believe that there should be some sort of a software based limit on the maximum acceleration for new or unexperienced drivers.

> No 18 year old should be given the option to drive a supercar. it is just too dangerous.

>> Kerry Manning > Anton Korn 2 days ago

>> I believe that the software has been around for quite a while. It is an advanced neural network commonly referred to as "a parent". :)

>>> Going Knightly > Kerry Manning a day ago

>>> Said software, unfortunately, only controls the vehicle as long as the drivers are within observational range. Once the vehicle leaves said range, the software is defunct and is running on the backup operating system "Wishful Thinking 2.0".

>>>> Kerry Manning > Going Knightly a day ago

>>>> Actually parenting is more about teaching your kids to do the responsible thing when nobody is watching. Without that it's not "parenting" it's "babysitting"

> Actually parenting is more about teaching your kids to do the responsible thing when nobody is watching. Without that it's not "parenting" it's "babysitting"

Supervised learning with holdout data

>software based limit on the maximum acceleration

That strikes me as a bad idea. There are scenarios where you need to accelerate your car as quickly as possible to move out of the way of danger or avoid an accident.

And how frequent are those situations compared to those where people accelerate too quickly and lose control of their car? That's like the argument that seatbelts are dangerous or lethal in some situations. Sure they are. But in all other situations they save lives and reduce injuries.

That one instance when you do need to accelerate quickly without the car car limiting you can be a matter of life or death.

If I get in a car, I expect consistent behavior based on previous performance. If the car pulls a "I'm sorry I can't let you do that Dave" and arbitrarily changes behavior when it feels like it, bad things are going to happen.

In most cases, I'd rather lose control and slip and slide around on/off a road than get flattened by a long vehicle merging into my lane because my car limited my acceleration.

>In most cases, I'd rather lose control and slip and slide around on/off a road than get flattened by a long vehicle merging into my lane because my car limited my acceleration.

That is an absolutely insane position to take. How about instead of losing control and going off the road, you take the car off the road in a controlled manner. You're already okay with going off the road... so just do that in case you find yourself in an exceedingly unlikely situation in where it's needed.

Otherwise, I'm not buying the whole "pedal to the metal is going to save me" line.

Possibly more frequent, though neither of us have data. Driving at too high a cruising speed to have adequate reaction time is common, I've never known anyone to crash a car because they lost control during acceleration (motorcycles yes). In contrast, based on my admittedly anecdotal experiences, it's common to accelerate to avoid someone who, for instance, ran a red light or stop sign.

Ok, phrased misleadingly, I guess. My thought was more along the line of »How frequently would I need to speed up to avoid something instead of slowing down?« – generally it doesn't seem wise to me to add more energy to a situation and so far I haven't come across a situation where slowing down wasn't an appropriate response (granted, something heavy coming up fast from behind is an issue, but that also only helps if there's nothing in the front to speed into).

Anecdotal as well, also with a huge grain of salt, considering that despite being somewhat old, I'm only allowed to drive since December. To other drivers I'm probably overly cautious, I guess.

It's a whole different ballgame with a high performance car. Most modern supercars require a lot of care to drive safely.

No it is not.

The problem with this reasoning is that the consequence of misjudging the situation is so much worse that a situation where you wrongly decided to use the brakes. The speed if something goes wrong is much higher, so the injuries will be much worse. For that reason it is almost always a bad judgement to accelerate out of a bad situation.

In Australia there are power to weight restrictions for new drivers and they can't ride a motorbike over 250cc for the first year.

From VicRoads: The list is primarily determined by assessing the power-to-weight ratio and engine capacity of motorcycles. If the power-to-weight ratio of a motorcycle exceeds 150 kilowatts per tonne or the engine capacity exceeds 660cc, the motorcycle will not be included on the list. Motorcycles may also be excluded from the LAMS list if they have other characteristics that make them unsuitable for learners, for example, being found to be overrepresented in crashes.

I believe the limit is 660cc in other states too.

At any rate, it's a bit of a moot point because all electric motorcycles are LAMS-approved and their acceleration is absolutely ridiculous.

It's like Kerry Manning is deliberately ignoring that 18-year-old brains aren't "finished" with respect to judgment and perceiving consequences. Manning's argument is blatantly circular, simply assuming that Korn is mistaken that there is an issue with late adolescent brains in order to assert that 'programming' late adolescent brains with parenting is the answer.

For "the best part," that was really disappointing.

So 18 year old brains aren't fully developers, yet we allow them to drop out of high school, buy a car or house, vote, go to war, get a license without a permit or behind the wheel, etc. Why should driving be any different? Any problems arising out of a bad 18 year old driver are because they don't understand the risks because they've never encountered the consequences.

I'll begin considering this argument when 18 year olds are no longer allowed to vote.

Why? Voting only has influence in aggregate.

That's very poor argument.

I toned it down from `Voting doesn't change anything on the margin.'

(1) "It takes a lot of speed to flip a 5,000 lbs Model S with a low center of gravity."

No it does not. Once a car is off road, on non-level ground or as in this case flying, it can roll at any speed. Push a Ferrari off a cliff and it might roll, flip and do somersaults no matter its centre of gravity.

(2) That car shows a very bad sign: impacts on both front an rear. That means multiple impacts separated by some period of time. The problem with airbags is that they can only deploy once. Same too for crumple zones. What saved these kids was most likely the seatbelts, the only safety feature that remains functional after the initial impact. This is why I am against the new trend of shock-absorbing seatbelts with stitched expansion zones, what rock climbers might call screamers. They don't work twice.

Forget the fancy safety features. The humble belt is more important than all of them put together. If you are going to roll a car, A good seat and a 5-point restraint is better than a hundred airbags.

While seat belts work, I think what saved these kids lives were the crumple zones. Those do work twice. If the car crumples in areas that don't impact the riders that's a good thing. Nobody would have survived such a crash in a classic Chevy.

The front of that car is obliterated, but notice the damage ends where the cabin begins. New autos have been receiving upgraded crumple zones for decades because they work. And it looks like Tesla hasn't avoided the issue.

I don't know exactly where the hard parts (cabin) of the Tesla begin and end but it's possible to have enough energy to just barrel right through the crumple zone.

Crumple zones are directional, when you tweak them they lose effectiveness in their primary direction, that's part of why modern cars get totaled by less damage (your insurance doesn't want to pay big $ for medical when you crash again, with less effective crumple zones). The #1 purpose is to buy time for the airbag to explode before the occupant's faces are occupying the area it takes up once inflated. Acting as an energy absorbing barrier is second priority. It's perfectly possible to hit something hard enough that you only get the first functionality out of it. e.g you hit a brick wall so hard that the "oh the front of the car stopped quick, better explode now" logic has time to happen. Even at 100+mph, the time it takes to drive 4ft (the length of the hood) there's plenty of time for the airbag to explode. However, if the car is moving fast enough the "crumple zone" won't slow the car considerably. Imagine the difference between falling out of a second story window into a (freshly plowed) snow bank vs falling out off the empire state building into the same snow bank, sure it still decelerates you but not enough to matter. Based on the spot where the car wend airborne, it wouldn't surprise me if the crumple zone was tweaked making it easier to completely go though.

Crumple zones remove energy making the rest of the accident less dangerous. Air bags operate on a similar principle 1 second post accident most of the speed is gone even if the car is still in motion. In other words survive the 80MPH crash and the secondary 40MPH crash is vastly less dangerous.

PS: Sure, there are a tiny fraction of edge cases such as falling off a cliff where it's a longer term problem, but it's reasonable to ignore them.

> Forget the fancy safety features. The humble belt is more important than all of them put together.

Totally agree with the second sentence, but disagree with the first. It's not like these features are just thrown in for fun; there is research and testing behind them, and they do save lives.

It's like that oft-misquoted statistic that you lose 50% of your body heat through your head. In reality that's only true if you cover the rest of your body with clothes, but leave your head bare. Obviously wearing clothes is going to keep you warmer than wearing a hat. But, if it's cold out, it does make sense to put a hat on too.

> It's not like these features are just thrown in for fun; there is research and testing behind them, and they do save lives.

Exactly, but some of them are designed to be paired with a seat belt - I've heard that airbags can make things worse if you don't buckle up.

The NHTSA has a few videos showing exactly this.

It gets really interesting with cars that have no crumble zone - like the Smart. They managed to build that little devil in a way, that the motor gets partially shoved beneath the floor of the car..

Many of those features, particularly the early airbags, markedly improve safety only where the seatbealt isn't used. That was and still is a norm in the US, but in places like Europe or Canada where seatbelt use is near universal, the advantage is minimal. The costs (1000s) are not minimal. So some would say that removing the airbags and spending that money on other things (ie crash prevention) might be the more efficient approach to safety.

At least shock-absorbing seatbelts can absorb the first (and probably stronger) shock and act as a normal seatbelt after that. So I don't understand what is the point to be against that.

To absorb the first shock they have to lengthen. To act as a normal seatbelt afterwards again, they would have to shorten again to properly restrain you. They might not have enough time for that.

(All just speculation.)

Wouldn't the shock-absorbers still at least retain someone after being used once? I gathered that regular seatbelts will have to be replaced after an accident anyway, they too stretch a little in an accident without retaining their stretchiness.

To clarify this: flip implies end over end rotation where as roll implies side over side rotation. Therefore, it takes considerable more force to flip a car than it does to roll it.

"SpaceX successfully recovers teens after launch"

Electric rockets still have a long way to go...

There is actually a thing called ion thrusters, which use propellant only as reactive mass and consume electricity for energy, but they are too weak for use in Earth-launched rockets.

What are the chances of one of them being called "Jebediah".

Not to be taken as a knock on Tesla, but from snowboarding I've learned the pain is not in the distance you fly, but the sudden stop at the end. Tumbling across an empty field is about the best case scenario. An unfortunately placed tree would be fatal at half that speed.

This article's 'victory lap' tone feels more like PR than journalism.

Yes, I wonder if the front end "crumpled" or merely fell apart. Was there a front end impact?

Exactly my question: what did it hit? It's sitting in a flat dirt field. Maybe it nose-dived into the ground? But I didn't even really see evidence of that from the photos.

she didnt caught the curve then the car rolled over.

Position https://www.google.de/maps/place/47%C2%B058'12.1%22N+11%C2%B...

cars direction north east to the yellow street 11

this dead outlet https://electrek.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/tesla-crash-ram...

is this here https://www.google.de/maps/place/47%C2%B058'12.5%22N+11%C2%B...

Is it my brain playing games or do I really see misplaced tire tracks on Google Maps?

Looks to me like it tumbled end over end, the front probably took the brunt of the impact and the rear took at least one hit.

Totally agree. I'd rather barrel roll down the infield than meet the wall any day.

Yes, flying into a soft, freshly ploughed field is probably the best case scenario. Put a tree, rock, concrete or other car on the way and no crumple zone will save you at such speed.

Not quite on topic, but this headline is a good example of false precision in converted units. Did they precisely measure it to the foot? Of course they didn't. The article makes it clear it's 25 metres, which is probably an estimate within 5-10 metres. 80 feet would have been a more helpful conversion.

"Hey, 98.6, it's good to have you back again... "

One of the best-known numbers in biology came about due to a similar confusion over significant figures:

> The first systematic measurements of human body temperature were performed by the German physician Carl Wunderlich. In 1861 he measured the temperatures of one million healthy individuals (a sample size that seems too large to be believed). The average value was reported as 37 degrees celsius. When converted this value becomes 98.6 degreed fahrenheit. So what's the problem? Wunderlich's value has only two significant figures while the converted value has three. The last digit (the "point six" at the end) should be regarded with great suspicion. Wunderlich's converted value should really be stated as "ninety eight point something" if one is being honest.

Actually, if one is being honest and respecting the usual rules, it should be stated as 99°F; that is, rounded to two significant figures.

(And, of course, we're not that simple: Core body temperature rises and falls naturally due to a number of factors even when we're completely healthy, so any single number as "the" healthy body temperature is, strictly, incorrect.)


Or you just write out the margin of error explicitly...

98.6±0.2F (or whatever).

Especially with errors in the order of .1, you might even write out more than the traditional number of digits, e.g. 98.64±.10, as it might make a significant difference if you regard 98.54...98.64 or 98.5...98.6 to be within your confidence interval.

> Wunderlich's converted value should really be stated as "ninety eight point something" if one is being honest.

or we could, you know, agree on a standard and just use that...

Or you could, you know, use Celsius like the rest of the world... ;)

I'm from the rest of the world and I do ;-)

Or use Kelvin like a scientist.

When Mount Everest was first measured, it came in at 29,000 feet. But they released the figure of 29,002 feet, to prevent people thinking that it was just an estimate.


I suppose it doesn't matter much in practice because few things have the density of an engine block, but I wonder if the Tesla is crash tested with luggage in the frunk, or always with it empty.

People are going to be putting stuff into the frunk, even stuff that may be really solid and pointy and likely to breach into the cabin in the event of a crash.

Is it especially armored to deal with those situations? Or should Tesla owners generally keep it empty if they're concerned with safety?

> People are going to be putting stuff into the frunk, even stuff that may be really solid and pointy and likely to breach into the cabin in the event of a crash.

Others may have different practices, but for my wife and I we put very little there. The trunk is quite spacious. We keep a small emergency kit and an autosock[0] in the frunk but otherwise it's generally empty. On the rare occasions when we've used it on road trips the geometry has always made it most convenient to fill the frunk with winter coats and other soft goods that pack well into arbitrarily shaped spaces.

[0]: http://autosock.us/

I have... a racquet in there. That's it. The hatch is insanely spacious, though I usually leave it empty because I transport my two goldens back there. But even with them in there, there's still room in the side cubbies for the mobile charging kit, and the under portion has even more room. Honestly, it's insanely great for storage.

Have you used the autosock? How well did it work? Looks like a nice alternative to chains.

Not yet -- I carry it because I'm required to have chains or an equivalent (the autosock counts) in the vehicle when driving into the mountains in Washington state and British Columbia during winter. Since the Tesla (P85D) is all wheel drive I'm not actually required to use the equivalent as long as I have M+S rated tires on the car.

For the past couple winters conditions have not demanded anything beyond the AWD and the tires. This is also an unfortunate commentary on the snow situation for the last couple winters.

I picked the autosock over chains as the Tesla owners manual advises against most change due to risk of damaging the wheel wells and body. There is apparently at least one model they've approved, which I'll likely invest in the first time the autosock proves itself not up the task and forces me to turn back from a ski weekend.

Tests have shown that the Autosock actually works better than chains in almost all situations. Here in Colorado you'll see big rigs carrying goods with auto sock's on rather than chains.


This shows the various tests that they did, and the auto sock comes out of the tests very well.

Do they really check every car, one by one, to make sure they have all the required equipment? Sounds time intensive.

"Do they really check every car, one by one, to make sure they have all the required equipment? Sounds time intensive."

On I-80, heading into Donner pass as you go through lake tahoe, CHP/Caltrans does indeed check every single car as it drives through ... during dangerous driving conditions, that is.

They usually funnel the interstate down to two lanes and have two guys waving cars through, one by one. They make sure that you either have a AWD/4WD vehicle or that you have chains on. Theoretically they are checking that AWD/4WD vehicles, without chains, also have snow tires, but that isn't really happening - they can't tell that at the 8-10 mph speed you roll through at.

It may also interest you to know that there is a lively cottage industry of chain rentals and installers just prior to these checkpoints. You can pull over just before the checkpoint and for $40 someone will quickly (and properly) install chains on your car, and then for another $20 at the other end of the pass, someone will quickly take them right back off.

This is regular and organized enough that you could absolutely drive through Donner pass in a blizzard, with no preparation whatsoever (other than $60 in cash).

It may also interest you to know (it interests me) that other, higher passes, with just as much potential for snow/blizard don't have any of these checks or precautions. You can drive yourself right over vail pass (I70, Colorado) with whatever drivetrain or tires you like.

California yes, sometimes, I've been in such a tediously long line for 1/2" of snow on the road, it was absurd. Colorado, only if you're in an accident does it come up. So from one extreme to another. No idea about other states.

It's not so much about how much snow is on the ground, but how much might quickly fall while you're up there.

I would argue (from Colorado) that 1/2 inch of snow is more dangerous than even feet: you can get up to speed and lose traction completely if you don't have chains and aren't experienced with snow driving.

There are a lot of AWD/4WD cars in WA and they generally get waved through without chains. In truly bad conditions they might check everybody. Driving through the mountains in really bad conditions is time intensive.

The few times I've ever seen checks (CA, WA) it was for particularly dangerous places that had lots of inexperienced travelers passing through.

Yes, in Tahoe, CA at least.

In Colorado they don't.

Sometimes they do, if chain laws are in effect and the weather is getting really bad...

Also, if you don't have them and you get into an accident, it's expensive fine time :P

Until you get in an accident, and then you better have them.

Keep in mind grip for stopping is more important than getting grip to accelerate.

Some provinces here in Canada have made winter tires mandatory AWD, 4x4, fwd or rwd it's not so people can go faster but to stop on ice and snow.

I've used autosock on a few occasions. It's not as good as the good old chains but never had any problems. Here (in Bulgaria) during the winter we often hit -15/-20 C and the roads are rarely cleaned - they are icy and snowy for the first few days after the snowfall. My experience tells me that the better the brand of the autosock is, the more durable it is.

How does it work. I just looked up some pictures and it just looks like fabric. Seems like it would be more slippery.

I can imagine that it might be easier to walk on an ice rink with socks than rubber shoes.

My Dad remembers a particularly bad winter in the UK when the pavements were iced over for weeks. He told me the postman started wearing socks over his shoes so he could walk quickly on the ice.

Why would fabric be more slippery - Have you heard of rugburn?

Haven't you seen Jerry Maguire?

Actually no. The white shirt looks soft but whats the inside joke so I dont have to watch a cult classic that probably didnt age well

He skates across a wooden floor in his socks--something not possible because bare feet are too grippy.

Running barefoot in snow and ice works surprisingly well. Mostly because when I tried I had more coordination and sensory information, I don't think because my feet had better grip.

(Feet are warm, so going over ice will be different than going over polished wooden floor.)

I haven't tested autosock but but chains with this kind of fixation tend to slip out during hard cornering / spirited driving. I saw the chains flying away two times in the mirror before giving up and switching to grandpa driving style.

> chains with this kind of fixation tend to slip out during hard cornering / spirited driving

Uh, how fast were you driving with chains? When you need chains it's a bit of an extraordinary set of circumstances that typically warrant doing significantly less than posted speed limits. I don't think I've ever seen anyone attempt to do hard cornering or anything that would be considered "spirited driving" with them on. That seems like the exact opposite of what you should do with any type of tire wrap that is meant to add traction to your vehicle.

I just wanted to go to sleep when I wrote this comment. I should have been more precise. I was drifting up the mountain with an RWD car and when I took a corner at 15-25kph with a nice angle I heard a ratatatatak and saw the chain flying. Tried again and got the same result.

At this point I got curious and I wanted to know under what condition the chains would stay on the wheels. I did some experiments and came to the conclusion that you can do what you want with theses chains as long as you're driving more or less straight but as soon as you start cornering you better be careful or you'll see the chain flying. They hate lateral force. Will try next winter with regular chains to see how well they do.

I precise that I did that during the night and the road led to village that has at most 100 inhabitants. I didn't expect to see anyone going up or down the mountain and you can see car lights way before crossing an other car. I wasn't reckless driving


You're "supposed" to drive 25-30 MPH with chains on.

I'm interested to know the answer to this question. Is it safe to store things in the frunk? I actually keep quite a bit of stuff in my frunk (extra motorcycle helmets since I don't have much space in my condo and I have a shared condo garage space in SF).

I would imagine that anything that's mostly open air and not rigid enough to punch through the firewall (or whatever it's called on a Tesla) would be harmless at worst.

Having been in a couple of rough accidents in my life, I thought it was pretty stunning that the frame of the passenger compartment was durable enough that the occupants were simply able to open the doors to get out. From what I've been witness to, often the frame and doors bend enough in a big wreck to make it difficult to exit the vehicle. The photos showing the front two doors open with all of the glass intact are quite impressive.

Was hit head on in my Subaru Impreza while turning left. I was going 15 Mph, the guy that hit me is estimated to have been driving at around 55 - 65 Mph, a Nissan Titan pickup truck, which already had about 2000 lbs on my car, on top of the stuff in the truck bed. I was shot back 40 ft from where the impact happened, here are the pictures of the aftermath:


The entire passenger compartment is completely intact. All doors still opened, front-end was completely destroyed, everything worked as it needed to. The engine dropped, the transmission shot underneath the car, drivetrain collapsed, front crumpled, dash shifted up and out of the way, airbags deployed, seatbelt caught me. But everything from the A frame to the C frame was completely intact. Doors opened without issues, and if you looked from the back you'd almost say it was a minor accident.

I walked away from the accident, much to the surprise of first responders that arrived on the scene and saw the carnage of my cars front-end.

I went back and bought another one, just a model year newer as soon as insurance sorted everything out. Modern cars are cages designed to protect their occupants, and I am very happy that is the case!

Did you take the shift knob as a souvenir??


This is apparently not uncommon for Volvos either:


Volvo pillars are apparently so strong that emergency crews have to carry special equipment to cut them if needed: http://www.fullerroadfire.com/TrainingAndEducation/Universit...

Interesting, here is an older article that shows the same is true for Subaru's: http://moojohn.com/subaru/extract.pdf

That extra surprise stub of rebar welded into the middle is funny, it was probably a quick "hack" to pass some test that turned out cheaper than redesigning the whole thing.

Yeah, that's one of many examples of how well Volvos stand up in crashes.

Related: http://www.volvosavedmylife.com/

I find it more amazing the side windows are still intact, and the roof is also amazingly clean for a vehicle that is said to have rolled over "at least once" in a field.

A notoriously heavy and bottom-heavy vehicle at that. I would not want to be caught upside down in one of those, knowing that there is a tonne or so of batteries trying to crush me.

1. You wouldn't be caught upside down in it. Tesla was unable to flip the Model X in testing [1] (I assume the Model S is even harder to flip). The advantages of having an extremely low center of gravity due to the battery pack (coming in at 1323 lbs).

2. Reinforced pillars. Their strength is such that they damaged the device used to test roof failures [2] (I believe the force the roof was subjected to was equivalent to 5 Model S' atop the test vehicle). I'm confident that in the extremely unlikely event the vehicle was upside down, you would walk away from the vehicle, roof intact.

3. A tweet describing the safety of Tesla vehicles: https://twitter.com/NickatFP/status/706845770486407168

[1] http://electrek.co/2016/03/07/tesla-flip-model-x-crash-tests...

[2] http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/videos/a5238/watch-the-...

I believe the force the roof was subjected to was equivalent to 5 Model S' atop the test vehicle

Tesla should start doing ads like this:



> You wouldn't be caught upside down in it. Tesla was unable to flip the Model X in testing

That doesn't mean you "wouldn't be caught upside down in it" unless it can literally flip itself back over after every possible roll.

I would still prefer to crash a Model S than any other car

I'd be more concerned about them catching fire and spurting fire at me while I lay there stuck.

I rolled over at 65 MPH in a Nissan Versa and it almost looked saleable afterward. Mostly front-end damage.

I did the same (about 60mph, clipped a tree in a curve and rolled) in a Honda Fit, and left myself upside down. None of the windows broke, the doors still opened and closed, and the car looked almost fine except for some damage on the front end. Of course it wasn't actually fine, but still, I was impressed.

I don't think this is really unique to Teslas at all.

Is it here because of that Tesla hipe? Tens of cars per year probably crumple just like this Model S, but there are (rightfully) no articles on HN or other IT web sites about that.

Though of course we can't run an exact experiment, the premise is that the occupants would have seen much worse injuries had it been an average car without the saftey ratings of the Model S.

Tesla should go buy a regular gas car and drive it off that ramp at the same approximate speed and film it for publicity.

I'm genuinely curious.

It's with some irony that the ads I see on that page are for Vauxhall.

I can't zoom in because I'm on a mobile but the final picture looks like it has the vehicle off in the distance. If so, I can't believe how far off the road it is - it must have really been moving at the time. Does it have telemetry data they can use post accident to figure out speeds and things?

> Does it have telemetry data they can use post accident to figure out speeds and things?

I would be surprised if not.

The problem is that unlike years ago, the cops can now use the data of your own car to screw you over for speeding, improper turns, running red lights... and insurances already offer heavy discounts to those who let themselves be data mined for every meter they drive.

Hello 1984.

could you expand on in how far this is a problem? i must say i'm glad there's finally no way of talking out of it, if the data says you did it wrong, then you most likely did it wrong and the cops should make you pay money or jail time, shouldn't they? no matter whose data it was.

even if there is something like a chilling effect, if it prevents people from speeding and running red lights, that sounds pretty cool to me.

insurances are another matter. although we probably disagree over that as well, it's certainly (even) more debatable.

Ok, but where do you draw the line? In CA the speed limit is usually 65. Should I get automatically fined the moment I go from 65 to 66?

How do you distinguish between reckless speeding and overtaking a slow-moving vehicle by using the fast lane? What about real emergencies where you speed to get your wife to the hospital because her water just broke, she is in pain and there is no time to wait for an ambulance?

There are many variables to consider. I hope such omni-present telemetry never comes to pass. I'd rather people have more freedom than for the state to try and create a rubber-covered world where everything is safe. Heck, I'm even worried about self driving cars because I know someone with good intentions will propose we outlaw manual driving "for the greater good".

Yes, the speed limit should be enforced with extreme prejudice.

If people want higher speed limits, they should use the normal political processes to get the laws changed; not rely on arbitrary enforcement only on people the police want to pull over.

And outlawing human-driving (outside of race tracks) _is_ the way of the future. Cars are just too damn dangerous---especially to people not inside the car.

The difference happens when you're involved in an accident, i.e. when personal or financial harm is involved (insurance etc). While there is an amendment stating that a suspect cannot incriminate him/herself, I don't think it applies to a traffic accident (where the car is impounded and its data read for information that could previously only be gathered by looking at skidmarks and the like).

Automatic fining, best not, but alternatively as a driver you should be able to automatically limit your speed, especially in a car like the Tesla where speeding is very easy.

Wouldn't you agree that preventing an accident is better than finding out who is to blame, or survival chances, etc? Speeding is still one of the main causes of traffic accidents, and even if it's not the cause, it's the primary factor in the amount of damage caused.

The question of where to draw the line does not come with more telemetry data collected by cars. If you would deploy lots of speed traps everywhere, you'd have a similar situation.

Overtaking a slow-moving vehicle does probably not allow you to ignore speed limits. And I'm pretty sure you are allowed to ignore speed limits to a certain extend in case of emergencies. I don't want the car to enforce the speed limit by itself, and even if, you could solve that by an "emergency button" of some sort. You'd need to justify it's use when asked by the cops of course.

I also do value freedom and think that absolute safety is not something desirable, but considering the tens of thousands of traffic deaths each year, people apparently abuse their freedom in traffic and we do need more safety there.

What happens if you have to speed up suddenly to avoid an accident? Do you have the time to push an emergency button? I don't think so.

I agree. Traffic offenses are often the reasons accidents happen. I bet if that girl knew the cops were monitoring her speed and she was guaranteed to get fined for speeding, then she wouldn't have been speeding.

Tell that to the Google fleet...

I'm bothered by the "no matter whose data it was", especially for multi-car crashes and for crashes without other parties being hurt.

In a multi-car crash, I'd like to see this: all data is available for defense in court. For offense, you get your own data and you also get the common subset of data from every car. If somebody's car provides nothing, then nobody's data can be used for offense.

Example why: Suppose your car records that you are going 20% too fast. The other person was going 150% too fast, but his car didn't record anything. It's not fair that he can use your evidence to prove that you are at fault. His failure to provide evidence lets him get away with much worse.

Isn't that a good thing? The next step would be to automatically revoke the driver's license which is required to start the car.

So breaking traffic laws and being held accountable for it is now the cops screwing you over?

Same with the insurances bit. Allowing yourself to be held accountable for your driving habits creates a safer world. There's a fad saying that traffic will be safer with more self-driving cars; it'll be safer with people being held accountable for their driving habits, too. Driving would already be 90% safer if nobody was speeding, driving drunk or running a red light; if telemetry and financial advantages (i.e. insurance) can help with that, then by all means. Much cheaper than self-driving cars, too.

So by that logic, would you support a motion to have your ISP monitor all of your internet traffic and hike your internet prices the second you go on a torrent website, connect to TOR or go to "unnaproved" websites on the internet? Surely the internet would be safer if we automatically punished people who do things that are normally associated with certain unsavoury activities, so financial penalties should be most appropriate?

Because that's exactly what insurance companies are doing with cars nowadays - there's a lot of factors that can contribute to increasing your premium, like....driving at night for example. Or accelerating quickly from traffic lights, or driving fast on a country road(even if within a speed limit).

As long as I can afford to, I will always chose insurance policies without telematics boxes, for the same reason why I will always pay more to have unmetered and non-monitored internet, to the extent that is possible in the current world.

I don't think that is a good comparison. There are no safety concerns with how you use the internet. Also, it doesn't cost your ISP more money (as far as I know) to use TOR. When you drive aggressive you increase your chance of an accident and the chance that your insurance will have to pay money for your mistakes.

I have to take issue with this statement: In my experience slow, overly cautious drivers cause much more traffic issues and potential for accidents than people who drive aggressively. A simple example is in a roundabout, if someone happens to approach the inlet at high speed, and cuts me off a little bit, it doesn't endanger me because their velocity ensures that they're long out of my way by the time I'm crossing their path, with no action on my part. On the other hand, someone going 5 mph under the limit on the highway causes a backup of traffic, and any time you have multiple vehicles occupying a small amount of roadway the chances of a fender-bender go up, especially when one driver is making a whole lot of people who need to be somewhere sit and wait for an opportunity to pass.

I'd love to see the crash data on aggressive versus docile driving, I think the results would be very interesting as to who is the root cause of the majority of wrecks.

You're confusing aggressive with experienced. People with well-trained reflexes and good foresight will be able to avoid some accidents. But experienced drivers span the whole "docile-aggressive" range.

And yes aggressive driving causes a lot more accidents. What you are doing is blaming defensive drivers for the accidents caused by others. If I overtake a slow car the responsibility for the outcome is solely on me. Don't blame people "for being there".

It looks like it flipped end over end with the front taking most of the impact, then the rear being crushed on the flip. The cabin must be extremely solid since the windows are still intact.

More interesting would be a crash against a tree or a concrete pillar - then one could argue if the crumble zone of a Tesla S is better compared to a traditional superior class Volvo or Mercedes with a front motor. Ignoring the videos of certificated crash test, the Tesla S doesn't look that special: https://www.youtube.com/results?q=tesla%20crash and even in certificated tests it isn't in the top range: http://www.euroncap.com

> More interesting would be a crash against a tree or a concrete pillar - then one could argue if the crumble zone of a Tesla S is better compared to a traditional superior class Volvo or Mercedes with a front motor.

It doesn't really mean anything, but as someone who has been in a bad crash into a concrete barrier in a Volvo (all four doors able to open and everyone walked away); comparing how that front-end looked to the Tesla, I got the feeling the Tesla would do well.

> the Tesla S doesn't look that special

As someone who always drove Volvos when I owned a car, and knowing---as some in this thread have pointed out---that some cars don't fair as well in accidents, to me this article didn't point out that the Tesla S is "special" but I was glad to see it is in the class of cars where you can crunch the front end and have an intact cabin. Makes me feel better about my feeling that if I ever buy a car again it might be a Tesla not a Volvo.

The European tests include other things unrelated to a car's front crash results, and even include things unrelated to the car itself, such as potential damage to pedestrians.

Each result is shown separately, how about looking at the crash results score and read the detailed information. Your comment makes no sense. Anyway, it's better to watch real world videos too, how those cars perform in real crashes - as several car manufacturers designed their cars especially for common crash tests which mean little in real world crashes, if you don't hit the other object in the same angle.

> [...] and even include things unrelated to the car itself, such as potential damage to pedestrians.

Why is that unrelated to the car? People are people and worth protecting, no matter whether they sit in the car or outside.

Yeah every time I get into my car from 1972 I think, " I'd o hit something this steering rack is going into my face"

First thing you should do with an Old-timer like this is replacing the original steering rack with a collapsible one, because like you said, it would perforate your head or torso on a front crash.

A car from 1972 should have that already. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steering_wheel#Passenger_cars

"In 1968, United States regulations (FMVSS Standard No. 204) were implemented concerning the acceptable rearward movement of the steering wheel in case of crash.[13] Collapsible steering columns were required to meet that standard."

Or worse. Look up "flail chest" sometime. You really should think about finding something else, or at least a newer steering wheel.

Crumple zones are all good, but why would you put that kind of power in the hands of an inexperienced and risk-happy 18-year-old driver? Looks like this was a P model (red calipers) which also means it has Ludicrous mode.

Perhaps Tesla could offer some innovation in the form of a de-tuned mode that triggers in the absence of a certain set of keys or pin entry.

> ... a 18-year old took her father’s Tesla Model S ...

That hints the car might have been taken without the parents knowledge. Then again this happened near München, so it might have been some overaffluent teens in their usual ride paid by daddy. It's not uncommon to see rich college students in a Porsche around there.

Is there a good deal of wealth around München? Where does it come from? A kid with a Tesla sounds like "entrepreneur" or "inherited" level of wealth rather than "good engineer" level of wealth.

The Tesla belonged to her father.

Munich is one of the richest German cities. You can dig into eg the Wikipedia article about economy of Bavaria if you are interested in background.

Just because it is a P doesn't mean it has Ludicrous. P models before the Dual Motor are not Ludicrous capable. And after Dual Motors only those that opt in to Ludicrous have it.

Even the non-P is in a territory that I wouldn't trust anyone to drive without a developed frontal lobe.

Our 85D does 0-60 in 3.9s and that's more than enough power to get you in trouble quickly.

It doesn't matter if teenagers can get in trouble quickly--they have all day to do so.

You have to start driving sometimes anyway, but yeah probabaly not a +$100k car.

A minivan for two years. They're safe. Then, after a couple years and their first crash, they can move up. But rich parents often aren't willing to "deprive" their children.

It's totally true, we totally expect young drivers to wreck a car early in their driving careers, and they often do, and we're totally fine with it, it's part of the course.

That mindset strikes me as completely insane to be honest (btw, I damaged my parent's car as well in my first year of driving).

Why not something like that you have to start driving for a few years with a small car (like a kei-car of some sorts), and then you can graduate to a compact. And then after six years or so, you can drive something heavy and/or fast. I would be so much more at ease in traffic, knowing that those deathtrap crossovers, trucks, and SUVs around me aren't piloted by a texting teenager.

Yeah, to paraphrase my mother, "If I thought you were going to crash it, I wouldn't let you drive it."

I actually learned to drive first on a ride-on lawn mower when I was barely heavy enough to keep the dead man switch active: hit a bump and the mower would switch off. Then I graduated to ATVs and finally to the farm pick-up truck when I was 12 or so. By the time I had a license, I was a quite capable and reasonably safe driver. Honestly, I think it may be best to learn before you are a teenager when you are still scared of the big machines.

that sounds like a great way to learn how to drive

On the other hand, my first car when I started driving was a 0.7L, 2 cylinder, 36BHP Fiat Cinquecento. That 0-60 time was probably around 2 minutes, downhill. But thinking about it now - it's a horrible car for a young driver. It had no power steering, no power brakes, no ABS, I got into several slides in winter because the wheels would just lock when breaking, no air bags, it was so underpowered that it had difficulty starting moving uphill, which led to more than one dangerous situation on the road. In contrast, modern cars have more power, sure. But they also avoid collisions automatically, they have 15+ airbags around you, they have parking sensors, dead zone sensors, traction control, hill assist and other features that make it safer and easier to drive. If I have children one day they are definitely going to drive something modern, no matter what the time to 60 is.

..or tell them if they want a car then go get a part time job and buy one.

My first car cost my £50 (and £1100 to insure..). As it was 20 year old heap of junk, every other month something would break, and I'd have to look up how to fix it and then go down to the scrap yard with a socket set, £20 in my pocket and pull that part off a scrapped car.

I learnt how to fix cars and I never had a crash because I knew it would mean certain death in that danger machine.

Even a minivan can have surprisingly high performance. A Honda Odyssey can run rings around classic sports cars.


Out of curiosity, why are minivans safe?

I don't know if there's anything inherent in their design that makes them particularly safe, but they're marketed and used as children-carriers, so safety is one of their most important features.

My parents gave me a station wagon but otherwise completely agree.

Minivans are anti-teslas. They are tippy and have almost no crumple zone. In a front impact the engine block ends up where your legs were.

If you have the money for a Tesla then you would be crazy not to put your kids in one. Ideally you would want to put it in some sort of valet mode to limit the performance.

The Tesla Model S scored 82% for adult protection and 77% for child protection in the Euroncap crash tests: http://www.euroncap.com/en/results/tesla/model-s/7897

That's quite a bit below best in class: http://www.euroncap.com/en/ratings-rewards/best-in-class-car...

If you have the money for a Tesla you then you would be crazy not to put your kids in a Volvo (if safety is your priority).

Minivans test well in safety. They are far from "anti-Teslas". If you don't like them, there are a variety of relatively safe, inexpensive vehicles from which to choose.

... and probably not with all of your friends in the car. In my state, a beginning driver can't drive with passengers who are not family members.

In my state, you're not supposed to speed and fly into fields either. (Maybe Germany has a passengers law too — the kid was ignoring other laws already.)

There are no passenger laws in Germany (not in that sense, at least). Beginning drivers would probably be drivers who are still in their probationary period (until they're 21 or have their driver's license for at least two years, whichever comes later). I am in that period, although probably more than a decade older than most such drivers, and have no restrictions as to what passengers I can take. The main point of deterrent during that period is when you break the law, you have to attend a seminar and the period lengthens by another two years. Do that twice, and you lose your license for at least three months.

An accident as this is likely the cause of driving too fast for the conditions, so that'd probably require attending such a seminar.

My 1998 Escort Zx2 had a gap between the bumper and the engine of about a foot that came in handy during a read ending. I think crumble zones of empty plastic are a great idea, and wish they'd install more of those on cars. It dissipates energy and potentially saves the car from what would otherwise be a car-destroying accident.

I can attest to the other side of that. My 2000 Cavalier was totalled after I rear ended someone at < 20 MPH. Apparently all of the impact went straight into the radiator.

However, in my subsequent two cars I was rear ended and in both cases, while the cars were pretty ugly, they were driveable.

Jeep Wrangler bumpers, lol.

Also, the front ends on Chrysler 300s, Chargers, and Challengers have an enormous amount of empty space if you have a v6 model. XD

This is not journalism. It is a (likely paid for) ad for Tesla.

My parents survived a head-on collision in a 1965 Corvair vs. an out-of-control Camaro, with minor injuries, thanks to the trunk being in front. The trunk was just about obliterated, but the passenger compartment was not compromised. Had they been in a Chevy Vega, Ford Pinto, or other '60s/'70s-era small car, they would have likely been maimed or killed.

As far as I'm concerned, the second-generation Corvair was considerably safer than typical small cars of the era; the trunk was large, the gas tank was behind the front axle, and the first-generation Corvair's swing axle rear suspension was superseded by a fully-independent design.

I'd feel safer even in a first-generation Corvair than in a classic VW Beetle. F*ck Nader.

Yes, give an 18 year old a car that can accelerate that fast.

Tesla should make a "teenage driving mode" the parent can set.

So if there had been a huge heavy engine in the front, they probably would have been eating it with a front impact that hard?

There already is a Valet Mode that limit the power and the maximum speed.

Crumple zones even in much crappier cars are a blessing. My brother was once not given the right of way while he was driving a VW Polo (OK, Skoda Fabia, same car). The front of the car after looked like that Tesla but he could kick the door open (it was a little stuck) and get out. It's literally life and death. If Tesla is even better, I hope the next time a family member gets in an accident it'll be in a Tesla. That sentence probably sells cars.

Crumple zones tend to be built to safety standards regardless of the car's fanciness. AFAIK, even cheapo modern cars have immensely advanced safety features.

This was close to 20 years now, how time flies... but yeah.

Anybody else notice that 82 feet ~= 25 meters, an approximate figure guessed by the original reporters who use the metric system? We simply translated the exact conversion of an approximate number into standard.

the car has so much software on board but isnt it personalized so that when my daughter is driving the car she cant get faster that e.g. 30mph? Or would this be to obvious?

I think the problem here is not with the car, but with the fact that you can't trust your daughter to be a responsible driver - which means she shouldn't be on the road in the first place.

No product manager can plan for such lack of discretion.

Actually they did: http://www.teslarati.com/depth-look-valet-mode-tesla-model-s... - 70 MPH limiter and also acceleration limiter.

More importantly, this crash shows the importance of getting humans, especially young "adults", out from behind the wheel of a 5000 vehicle.

Or it shows that irresponsible reckless driving is generally a poor idea.

And computers will be much better at driving reckful all the time than humans who have their moments of inattention.

The frunk fell off.


-1 for disabling zoom on mobile devices

Skip the article. Domain redirected me to a scam site (recognized I'm on Verizon, so it may not redirect everyone.)

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