Since 2018, Tesla has been providing quarterly information on its website about the number of accidents in which drivers of their electric cars with and without activated autopilot and other safety functions in the USA have been involved. In this way a considerable repertoire of numbers has come together over time, from which one can read the development. When Tesla itself published its latest Safety Report, accidents while driving on autopilot had recently been seven times less likely. At the same time, the crash rate rose slightly in the fourth quarter of 2020 only with the other Tesla helpers – and those without significantly.
Autopilot accident 7 times less likely
It can thus be said that Tesla’s autopilot has become a bit safer again compared to the same quarter in 2019. Most recently, according to the new report, there was an accident every 3.45 million miles driven when the autopilot took over the wheel. The average of all US cars, it crashed every 484,000 miles in Q4 2020. This results in the seven times lower probability of accidents with autopilot as mentioned by Tesla compared to other cars. In the same quarter of 2019, the accident ratio of the Tesla autopilot to the US average was 6.4.
The best value ever in this regard was so far in the third quarter of 2020: According to Tesla data, during this period there was an accident only every 4.59 million miles when the autopilot system was activated (although legally the person at the wheel was still involved responsible for). That was almost ten times less than the US average, which at the time was one accident per 479,000 miles. However, seasonal factors also seem to play a role: from the third to the fourth quarter of 2019, the autopilot lead over other cars had already decreased. The comparative figures for the average, which come from the NHTA authority, are only updated once a year, unlike those from Tesla.
Even compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, however, the rate increased slightly in Teslas who were only traveling with the built-in security functions. In Q4 2020 there was one accident for every 2.05 million miles driven, compared with 2.10 million miles a year earlier. And Tesla drivers who completely waived technical support recently had an accident every 1.27 million miles, after having traveled 1.64 million miles a year earlier to get that far.
Tesla electric cars burn less often
In contrast, the numbers on the frequency of fires in its electric cars, which Tesla also regularly mentions in the Safety Report (but only once a year), show a clearly positive development. There has been a steady decline here since the first report: in 2018 a Tesla burned every 170 million miles in the USA, in 2019 it was 175 million miles, and for 2020 the new report names 205 million miles. The aforementioned comparative figure for the average of all US cars remained the same and was 19 million miles. Tesla has already exceeded a factor of 10 here.