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Worker dies after Tesla on autopilot collides with repair truck in northern Taiwan

Tesla driver admits he was not paying attention while autopilot was engaged

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Wrecked Tesla. (National Highway Police Bureau photo)

Wrecked Tesla. (National Highway Police Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Tesla on autopilot collided with a maintenance vehicle on a highway in Taoyuan moments before a worker responding to the accident was fatally struck by a BMW.

At 9:51 p.m. on Monday evening (March 8), a 46-year-old man surnamed Chiang (江) was seated behind the wheel of a white Tesla with its autopilot feature engaged at the 63-kilometer mark on National Highway 3 near the Daxi Interchange in Taoyuan City, reported UDN. The vehicle's sensors apparently failed to detect a bright yellow road repair truck, despite its large reflectors and digital sign, and slammed into its rear.

Worker dies after Tesla on autopilot collides with repair truck in northern Taiwan
(National Highway Police Bureau photo)

The Tesla sedan spun across the inner lanes of the freeway, and a 25-year-old worker surnamed Yu (俞) immediately rushed forward and put down traffic cones to alert drivers to the accident. However, 20 seconds later a blue BMW driven by a 40-year-old man, also surnamed Chiang (江), struck Yu, inflicting severe injuries.

Yu was rushed to the Taoyuan Armed Forces General Hospital but was soon declared dead. The Tesla driver's left hand was injured, and the driver of the BMW reported head pain.

Worker dies after Tesla on autopilot collides with repair truck in northern Taiwan
(National Highway Police Bureau photo)

Police said breathalyzer tests revealed the drivers' blood alcohol level to be zero. The Tesla driver admitted to officers that after he had switched on the autopilot feature, he was not paying attention to the situation on the road, while the BMW driver said he had not noticed the worker until it was too late to stop.

Officers reminded the public that driver assistance systems are auxiliary functions and urged motorists to remain alert at all times when using automatic driving technology. The two drivers are being investigated for offenses against public safety (公共危險罪).

Worker dies after Tesla on autopilot collides with repair truck in northern Taiwan
(National Highway Police Bureau photo)