SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Newly released surveillance video shows how a chain-reaction crash started on the Bay Bridge this past Thanksgiving Day. A Tesla driver blames his car's self-driving technology.
Until Tuesday, we only saw the aftermath of the chain reaction crash last Thanksgiving Day - drive-by video of cars stacked up in the Yerba Buena tunnel, Eastbound on the Bay Bridge, and a traffic jam that lasted hours.
But, Bay Bridge surveillance video now shows how it started. A 76-year-old lawyer from San Francisco told the CHP his white 2021 Tesla Model S was in "full self-driving mode" when it suddenly deployed the brakes. A total of eight vehicles crashed, nine people injured, including a 2-year-old boy.
Ken Klippenstein is a reporter for the Intercept who first obtained the surveillance video under the California Public Records Act, and he told the I-Team, "The humanity struck me. I was concerned for the individuals that I saw described in some of these reports. It was a situation where I kind of knew how the movie ended and was just kind of watching in horror."
Just hours before the crash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the launch of the full self-driving Beta version, which he called "a major milestone." But there are a growing number of reports of the Tesla technology unexpectedly slamming on the brakes.
"With any technology, there's a period of having to test it out and work out the kinks," said Klippenstein. "And if we're all guinea pigs in the system, if they're testing this out, let's say on roads that we're all driving on and not in controlled settings, if something goes wrong, we're going to experience that in real time."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration assigned a Special Crash Investigation team to look into what happened; they're already looking at dozens of incidents involving Advanced Driver Assistance Systems from Volvos, Cadillacs, Hyundai, Genesis and Cruise -- but mostly Teslas.
The I-Team's Dan Noyes reached out to the owner of that Tesla, the lawyer from San Francisco, and others involved in the Thanksgiving Day crash, but have not heard back. We wanted to ask whether any of them are considering a lawsuit against the company. We'll report what we find out.
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