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Tesla denies brake system failure after runaway Model Y kills two people in China

Elon Musk’s company said that security camera footage proved the brake lights were not on during the accident, in which three other people were injured

A runaway Tesla in Chaozhou on November 5, 2022.Video: EPV

A Tesla Model Y lost control in the streets of Chaozhou, in China’s Guangdong province, colliding with a motorcyclist and a student riding a bicycle, both of whom died in the accident. The incident occurred on November 5 and was recorded by several security cameras in the area. The footage shows the car, a medium-sized SUV, accelerating suddenly as it was being parked and driving at full speed for a distance of 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles). After hitting the second victim of the accident, the vehicle crashed into a store. Three other people were also injured, including the driver of the Tesla.

The electric car maker, which is the flagship company of tycoon and Twitter owner Elon Musk, said in a statement that the brakes on the Model Y did not fail. Data recovered from the car showed no evidence that the brake pedal had been applied prior to the accident, Tesla stated as reported by Bloomberg. The company also said that the footage showed the brake lights had not been on at any time during the lead up to the incident and that the accelerator had been applied with force. Tesla also said in its statement that the company will “actively provide any necessary aid” to an investigation being carried out by police in Chaozhou.

Tesla’s models include the option to engage an autopilot function that requires no driver assistance, although it remains unclear whether this was in use at the time of the fatal accident. According to sources quoted by local media, the 55-year-old driver of the vehicle tested negative in a breathalyzer and drug test. The same sources cited members of the driver’s family, who said he had been complaining for some time about issues with the car’s braking system.

In July, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was opening an investigation into a fatal crash in California in which a motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a 2021 Tesla Model Y. Reuters reported that the NHTSA has probed 37 accidents involving Tesla vehicles since 2016, with a total of 18 fatalities recorded in those accidents.

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