Tesla drivers still feeling safe In their cars despite deadly crash

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Tesla drivers and passengers at a charging station in Mountain View say they still feel safe in their cars despite last Friday's deadly crash involving a Model X. (KGO-TV)

Tesla drivers and passengers at a charging station in Mountain View say they still feel safe in their cars despite last Friday's deadly crash involving a Model X.

"That accident that happened is just beyond me as to how it could have happened," said Shalini Azariah. She is legally blind and is a passenger in her brother-in-law Uday Koppikar's Tesla Model X. She says they bought the car because of all the safety features. "The car alerts you to everything. When we back up, it tells you, when people get too close it tells you, when you make a turn it tells you."

Tesla revealed the car was in autopilot when it crashed.

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"I think autopilot is safe but you can't put on autopilot and watch tv. And not give any credence to the signals that they provide," said Koppikar.

A statement released late Friday the company's blog said, "The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver's hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision."

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"I'm not too concerned but it's still an early technology," said Tesla owner Daniel Lawless. He says he is always in control and the car alerts you if you take your hands off the wheel. About autopilot, he says, "I'll use it but I've got my hands on the wheel, I'm watching the road still."

Drivers say the car will even slow down and shut off if a person ignores warnings. They admit the system isn't perfect.

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"It raises a question on the safety though," said Krishna Kumar. "So how you balance it is your have to strike a balance of paying attention on the road."

The NTSB is investigating the crash.

The Tesla team wrote on the blog, "Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur."

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