Tesla’s new Vehicle Safety Report is out, and things are looking good for the electric car maker, especially its Autopilot set of self-driving features.
Tesla’s accident data for the first quarter of 2019 shows that there was one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For drivers that had Tesla’s active safety features turned on, but not Autopilot, the company registered one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven. Finally, for those driving with both Autopilot and active safety features off, Tesla registered one accident per every 1.26 million miles driven.
The numbers improved in the second quarter, when Tesla recorded one accident per 3.27 million miles driven with Autopilot, 2.19 million miles without Autopilot but active safety on, and 1.41 million miles with both features off.
Tesla points out that NHTSA’s data at the end of Q1 and Q2 was one crash per 436,000 miles and 498,000 miles, respectively.
While Tesla’s numbers portray Autopilot as the safest option to drive with, one needs to take into account that Autopilot is most often used on highways (read Electrek‘s take as well), meaning that Autopilot-on and Autopilot-off miles cannot be directly compared.
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The comparison between driving with or without active safety features is likely more meaningful. Those features, which include things like Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Avoidance, and Side Collision Warning, are meant to be — and probably are — turned on in most driving scenarios.
Interestingly, comparing Tesla’s data from Q3 2018 to Q2 2019, there’s not that much improvement regarding driving with Autopilot. In Q3 2018, there was one accident for every 3.34 million miles driven with Autopilot, which bests all later results.
As far as driving without Autopilot but with active safety on, the situation is different, and shows steady improvement in the last three quarters. In Q3 2018, there was one accident for every 1.92 million miles driven. The number dropped to 1.58 million miles in Q4 2018, before rising to 1.76 million miles in Q1 2019 and, finally, to 2.19 million miles in Q2 2019. Overall, Tesla’s data shows that it’s considerably safer to drive with active safety features than without them.
Tesla also shared its data for vehicle fires, but on an annual basis, since the company claims some quarters passed with zero such incidents. From 2012-2018, Tesla says, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled, which compares well with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s data for U.S. vehicles overall, which states that there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.