When most people think about self-driving vehicles, the name Tesla tends to be top of mind. That’s because, while there are other self-driving cars out there, Tesla is the most ubiquitous by far. Unfortunately, as with any new technology, the media makes it seem as though self-driving cars are not as safe as they are. Tesla wants to put that notion to rest.
According to new data released by Tesla, you are statistically far safer in a Tesla than in another vehicle. Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, you are safer with autopilot on than off. At least according to the data. Before we get into Tesla’s data, it’s important to set expectations by taking a look at the general driving data for drivers in the United States.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration released data that found that there is a car accident for every 492,000 miles driven in the U.S.
Comparatively, Tesla found that when autopilot was not engaged, they recorded a car accident once every 1.92 million miles driven. That means that Tesla drivers are getting into accidents almost four times less than those in other cars. While that is impressive, it’s when you turn control over to the car that things start to get really crazy.
According to Tesla, when their data shows that there is a crash every 3.34 million miles driven with the autopilot turned on. This is surprising to many, simply because anytime a self-driving crash is reported it makes the news. Numbers don’t lie, however and self-driving cars are the safest way to traverse America’s highways right now.
Tesla creator Elon Musk, understands and is frustrated by this media scrutiny. Following an autopilot crash in the Spring, he released a statement saying ““It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the 40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage.”.
It will take time for the general public to get comfortable with self-driving cars, but the reality is that they are much safer than cars driven by humans. Humans get distracted—they text, they eat, they get road rage. Machines don’t do that. Self-driving cars are the future, that much is certain. Will Tesla lead the way? Elon Musk certainly wants you to think so, but only time will tell.