Tesla Model 3 crashes into police car with Autopilot engaged

The driver says they were checking on a dog in the back seat, with Autopilot handling the controls.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Model 3 Autopilot crash in Connecticut

Thankfully, the crash wasn't worse.

Connecticut State Police

This past Saturday, some typical police activity turned chaotic after a Tesla Model 3 slammed into a police cruiser on the side of I-95 in Connecticut. 

The scene, which until the crash was simply State Police responding to a disabled vehicle on the freeway, turned wild as the Model 3 first hit the police car, continued on to hit the disabled vehicle and finally came to a stop with some assistance from a second state trooper.

The driver told police he was checking on his dog in the back seat and had Tesla's Autopilot system engaged. Tesla does not advertise Autopilot as a completely self-driving system, though the name remains controversial, with critics saying it overpromises its abilities. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this incident.

Tesla's Model 3 simplifies the EV

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No one was seriously injured in the crash, including the dog, according to the police statement on Facebook. The Connecticut State Police took the time, however, to remind drivers there are no self-driving cars on sale today.

"According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although a number of vehicles have some automated capabilities, there are no vehicles currently for sale that are fully automated or self-driving," the statement reads. "Regardless of your vehicle's capabilities, when operating a vehicle your full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving."

The crash continues to highlight the controversies that automated systems bring in their marketing and capabilities, though Tesla's Autopilot continues to be the most high-profile. Two other crashes, one in California and another in Florida, have previously drawn widespread attention to the system.

Watch this: Watch the Tesla Model 3 ace European crash tests