Laguna Beach, CA – A Tesla sedan set to autopilot mode slammed into an unoccupied Laguna Beach patrol vehicle on Tuesday morning, leaving the driver with minor injuries, police said.
The incident occurred at 11:07 a.m., as the Tesla was traveling southbound on Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach Police Sergeant Jim Cota told KCBS.
The force of the collision left the police SUV with both passenger-side wheels pushed up onto the sidewalk, Sgt. Cota said.
Both vehicles sustained substantial damages, and the unnamed female Tesla driver was treated for minor injuries, KABC reported.
Investigators said the Tesla was in autopilot mode when it crashed, but that they were still looking into the circumstances and cause of the collision.
“Thankfully there was not an officer at the time in the police car,” Sgt. Cota told the Los Angeles Times. “The police car is totaled.”
Following the incident, a Tesla spokesperson told KABC that use the autopilot feature does not eliminate the driver’s responsibility to remain alert and in control of the vehicle.
Autopilot mode is also intended to help prevent crashes by detecting vehicles nearby, but should not be used in high-traffic areas with frequent stops, the company said.
“Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings,’” the spokesperson told KABC.
Tesla’s autopilot mode was also reportedly engaged during a May 11 crash in Utah, although the company said they have not been able to confirm that claim, KABC reported.
In that instance, a 28-year-old driver said she was cruising at 60 miles per hour while she looked at her phone.
Her Tesla Model S slammed into the back of a fire department vehicle when it stopped at a red light. The collision left her with a broken ankle and a totaled vehicle.
In March, the driver of a Tesla Model X was killed when his vehicle collided with a collapsed safety barrier, KABC reported.
Although the autopilot feature was engaged, the driver’s “hands were not on the wheel during the six seconds” leading up to the crash, the company said.