Elon Musk took to Twitter to respond to the recent news of a Tesla crashing into a parked car in California. The CEO shared a link to a search for “automotive deaths per year worldwide” while captioning it, “Just for perspective”. When the link is clicked, a page opens that states “According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.25 million deaths worldwide in the year 2010. That is, one person, is killed every 25 seconds.”
Just for perspective https://t.co/ZfMR1aOinY
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2018
Other links include one from Allianz which states that traffic accidents are the number one cause of worldwide deaths among youth and a World Economic Forum link with the countries having most and least traffic deaths. The overall message seems to be that traffic accidents have been happening before the introduction of Tesla’s Autopilot software. This message is in accordance with Musk’s previous statements. While discussing the first Autopilot crash in Utah, Musk said, “it’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage.”
Mostly his followers seem to agree with him. Some posted stories of accidents which they said could have been avoided if a Tesla was there. While other complained that media is using its tactics. Twitter users also called the media “witch hunters” and requested that they should stop attacking Musk and Tesla. People seemed to be convinced that Autopilot can save lives.
People need to see this perspective; how many lives has Tesla’s autopilot saved because it’s detected an imminent crash and moved to avoid it? It’s a hell of a lot more than the number of people who have died in a Tesla. The media needs to stop attacking @elonmusk
— 133 Days to go! ??? (@RhysBoyce) May 31, 2018
In no universe could I ever afford a Tesla, but if I could it's the first car that comes to mind that I would buy and I am not even a car dude. The media are modern day witch hunters.
— Paul Melia (@PaulMeliamusic) May 31, 2018
Had this conversation with my dad when he sent me this. We were in a small accident when i was a kid, for sure a Tesla would have prevented it
— Joshua (@jjbsaunders) May 31, 2018
What you are saying is based on thin air. You can debate on the pros and cons of self driving, but your comment is biased by the will to protect a product.
Incidents are normal, but a proper study shall be made to discuss if taking it out of the market till later coule be good
— kristiano (@PriftiKristiano) May 31, 2018
Some people were on the other side of the argument as well. They said that it will be better if the autopilot cars are kept off the roads until more research is done on them. However, the overall response seemed to be in the favor of Musk. Two US rights groups sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission demanding that they investigate Tesla over the marketing of their Autopilot software. The groups said that the name “Autopilot” is deceptive and misleading. Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog said in the letter, “The marketing and advertising practices of Tesla, combined with Elon Musk’s public statements, have made it reasonable for Tesla owners to believe, and act on that belief, that a Tesla with Autopilot is an autonomous vehicle capable of ‘self-driving.”