Tesla Model 3 crashes into 18-wheeler truck, kills owner

Occurred: March 2019

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A Tesla with its Autopilot driver assistance system activated drove under a tractor-trailer that had moved into its path, killing the Tesla driver instantly.

In March 2019, Jeremy Banner had been driving to work in his 2018 Tesla Model 3 in Delrway Beach, Florida, when an eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer moved into his path. Ten seconds earlier Banner had activated the car's Autopilot system, but it failed to detect the farm vehicle and the car drove underneath the trailer, shearing off the hood and killing Banner instantly. 

In February 2020, a US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation concluded that the truck driver was primarily to blame for pulling into traffic, but also said that Banner and Tesla were at fault. Banner was ruled to have ignored the road due to an overreliance on Autopilot, and for having been 'inattentive' for failing to take evasive action.

In November 2023, Florida judge Reid Scott allowed a lawsuit to proceed against Tesla that accused the company of intentional negligence and misconduct over the crash. Scott said that he had found 'reasonable evidence' that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was aware of a dangerous defect in the automaker's Autopilot system but still allowed the cars to be driven. 


Operator: Jeremy Banner
Developer: Tesla
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology:  Driver assistance system
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Legal