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85 y/o man died in his Tesla after he drove into a pool.

SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,247
Houston TX
Thru a brick wall and into a pool.
Police said the driver, 85, just drove his sister back to Houston for cancer treatment. KPRC 2 was told he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes of his Tesla.

The man's sister got out OK. The man was unconscious and was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,222
13,872
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Humans do very occasionally get the pedals mixed up. It is rare. Think of how many times a day, just in the US, that a human foot touches a brake or accelerator pedal correctly, vs. how often a human touches the wrong pedal thinking it is the "right" one. I would hazard a guess that humans get their pedal choice correct 99.99% of the time. When they get it wrong, usually it is just a momentary touch, their brain says "oops wrong pedal", and no harm done. But sometimes their brain fails to consider the possibility that they are touching the wrong pedal and assumes, mistakenly, that they have the right pedal but the pedal is not responding as it should so the solution is to press it really hard!
Assumptions can be dangerous things.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Oct 22, 2012
4,267
3,856
Chicago/Montecito
How the h would they know about pedals? Did they go to the afterlife and interview the guy? Sounds like an assumption. Ps. He was 85. All kinds of things can happen.
 

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,929
531
Skaneateles, NY
Anyone else noticed there are just too many 'mistook throttle for brake'?

There are A LOT of these complaints/accidents with the MS. A lot of them on NHSTA too. There was much discussion about pedal placement and whether or not it's a design defect of their location or being too close to each other that's causing people to confuse the two and result in these accidents.
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,497
2,369
SF Bay Area, CA
Humans do very occasionally get the pedals mixed up. It is rare. Think of how many times a day, just in the US, that a human foot touches a brake or accelerator pedal correctly, vs. how often a human touches the wrong pedal thinking it is the "right" one. I would hazard a guess that humans get their pedal choice correct 99.99% of the time. When they get it wrong, usually it is just a momentary touch, their brain says "oops wrong pedal", and no harm done. But sometimes their brain fails to consider the possibility that they are touching the wrong pedal and assumes, mistakenly, that they have the right pedal but the pedal is not responding as it should so the solution is to press it really hard!
Assumptions can be dangerous things.
Yep. Around the time of the Toyota SUA (sudden unintended acceleration) PR disaster, this came out:
Smart pedals won’t put the brakes on driver error | UCLA
How the h would they know about pedals? Did they go to the afterlife and interview the guy? Sounds like an assumption. Ps. He was 85. All kinds of things can happen.
He had a passenger.

To quote from the above UCLA piece
Back then, many of us who worked in fields like ergonomics, human performance and psychology suspected that these unintended-acceleration events might have a human component. We noticed that the complaints were far more frequent among older drivers (in a General Motors study, 60-to-70-year-olds had about six times the rate of complaints as 20-to-30-year-olds), drivers who had little experience with the specific car involved (parking-lot attendants, car-wash workers, rental-car patrons) and people of relatively short stature.

Several researchers hypothesized how a driver, intending to apply the brake pedal to keep the car from creeping, would occasionally press the accelerator instead. Then, surprised that the car moved so much, he would try pressing harder. Of course, if his right foot was actually on the accelerator, the throttle would open and the car would move faster. This would then lead the driver to press the “brake” harder still, and to bring about even more acceleration. Eventually, the car would be at full throttle, until it crashed. The driver’s foot would be all the way to the floor, giving him the impression that the brakes had failed.

In the cases that went to court, jurors naturally asked, why would a driver with decades of driving experience suddenly mistake the accelerator for the brake? And why would the episode last so long — often 6 to 10 seconds or more? Wouldn’t that be ample time to shut off the ignition, shift to neutral or engage the parking brake?

First, in these situations, the driver does not really confuse the accelerator and the brake. Rather, the limbs do not do exactly what the brain tells them to. Noisy neuromuscular processes intervene to make the action slightly different from the one intended. The driver intends to press the brake, but once in a while these neuromuscular processes cause the foot to deviate from the intended trajectory — just as a basketball player who makes 90 percent of his free throws sometimes misses the hoop. This effect would be enhanced by the driver being slightly misaligned in the seat when he first gets in the car.

The answer to the second question is that, when a car accelerates unexpectedly, the driver often panics, and just presses the brake harder and harder. Drivers typically do not shut off the ignition, shift to neutral or apply the parking brake.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,458
6,209
Snohomish, WA
My understanding is on very early Model S cars there were some complaints about pedal placement, but at some point the pedals were moved (one moved vertically). I don't have any first hand knowledge of it though. Just something I heard.

On my 2015 I can't imagine ever accidentally hitting the throttle instead of the brake. I do occasionally (still rarely though) hit the brake instead of the throttle (I have massive feet).
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,470
South Surrey, BC

Citizen-T

Active Member
Aug 25, 2011
2,443
104
Raleigh, NC
Just saw a story of someone mistakenly accelerating into a book store here in Raleigh. Same story, meant to hit the break.

Not a Tesla.

So, I think this happens often enough, it just stays local news usually. The fact that it's a Tesla grabs the attention of these forums.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Oct 22, 2012
4,267
3,856
Chicago/Montecito
There was a thread here about issue of catching accelerator while braking. I participated in thread because I experienced that. Tesla subsequently moved plane of brake to mitigate. I'm aware of no thread or big hubbub on wrong pedal issues. That seems to come up on many cars... Leads me to believe above study. Driver error. Not the specific car.
 

S'toon

Knows where his towel is
Apr 23, 2015
3,699
3,640
AB
I've seen the results a couple of times. About 6 months ago I went to a store in a strip mall, and there was a firetruck clearing the glass from a store front. A few years ago a car accelerated into the living room of a house a block from here.
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
Personally, I would like to see Tesla Motors offer a very thick rubber cover for the brake pedal. The aluminum pedals on my Model S are at the same location, depth wise. If I press the brake without centering my foot on the brake pedal, I may push both pedals at the same time.

With a rubber brake pedal cover, the right sole of the driver's shoe would be higher than the accelerator when pressing the pedal. My GM cars are designed that way, and it works to avoid double pedal press.

I have learned to move my foot farther to the left to break the habit that the GM vehicles create. But, some drivers may like a brake pedal cover, and that would be an easy fix. It could be replaced when worn or removed when selling the vehicle.
 
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S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,458
6,209
Snohomish, WA
Anyone notice that these events are nearly exclusively involving elderly tesla owners.

Nearly every week I hear about this kind of event where an elderly driver drives through a wall, or off an embankment, etc. Sometimes it's from a heartattack or some other medical issue, and other times it's simply because they screwed up in some manner.

The make and model of the car is pretty much random.

As to the Tesla specifically there are some things that don't make it very compatible with majority of elderly drivers.

There is no feedback loop of hitting the gas, and hearing the engine roar. That noise lets someone quickly know they screwed up. The noise generally happens before the car is quickly moving. The Tesla on the other hand is not only silent, but it's also extremely quick especially if someone is driving the 85D, P85, P85D, etc. It's still quick even with a 60/70D.

There is no emergency brake that's easy to grab. Heck there is absolutely no "oh, ****" handles of any kind. There is nothing that allows the muscle memory of an older folk to grab that he/she is used to.
 

musicious

Member
Apr 11, 2015
236
51
Wheeling, IL
In a slightly related note, I feel that turning off creep mode can cause a similar incident when parking because then at slow speed you have to gently push the accelerator (rather than letting off the brake) to move into the spot and its very easy to over-accelerate due to the instant torque of the Tesla.. once you push it down too hard its too late.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,458
6,209
Snohomish, WA
Personally, I would like to see Tesla Motors offer a very thick rubber cover for the brake pedal. The aluminum pedals on my Model S are at the same location, depth wise. If I press the brake without centering my foot on the brake pedal, I may push both pedals at the same time.

With a rubber brake pedal cover, the right sole of the driver's shoe would be higher than the accelerator when pressing the pedal. My GM cars are designed that way, and it works to avoid double pedal press.

I have learned to move my foot farther to the left to break the habit that the GM vehicles create. But, some drivers may like a brake pedal cover, and that would be an easy fix. It could be replaced when worn or removed when selling the vehicle.

Don't you have one of the first ones before the change was made? Wasn't the change retroactive where Tesla would swap out? Have you asked them about this?

My 70D is exactly like you want it. Well except there is rubber on both pedals, but the brake pedal is closer to the driver.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Oct 22, 2012
4,267
3,856
Chicago/Montecito
Don't you have one of the first ones before the change was made? Wasn't the change retroactive where Tesla would swap out? Have you asked them about this?

My 70D is exactly like you want it. Well except there is rubber on both pedals, but the brake pedal is closer to the driver.

they did not retrofit.
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
I realize that many of the vehicles have the rubber brake pedal.

It is the Signature or custom aluminum brake pedal that could have the cover. No switching out needed.

I am used to my aluminum pedals now, but as one gets older, it might be time for extra safety measures. It could help with loaner cars too, the SC could snap on the cover to accommodate both preferences.

UPDATE: The original news article has been revised. The driver told the passenger to exit the vehicle.

A little more time may have helped. Could a seat belt be made to release automatically when a vehicle starts to fill up with water? Too bad the pool water was not clearer as shown in the photo.

What would help is to plan ahead. Here is how: How to Escape from a Sinking Car: 8 Steps (with Pictures)
 
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