"Door Handles Wouldn't Work": Tesla Driver Dies in Burning Car after Crash

Megalith

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A driver in South Florida died this week after losing control of his Tesla. “Davie police spokeswoman Vivian Gallinal says the car hit some palm trees and burst into flames [in the] Sunday afternoon crash.” Witnesses claim they couldn’t get the driver out because of the vehicle’s door handles not opening and air bags not deflating: “the car doors and bags trapped the driver and kept us from getting to him before the car was taken over by fire. It was like the fire had an accelerant.” There was another tragic incident yesterday in which a Model 3 had its roof sheared off as it went under a tractor trailer. “Autopilot not yet ruled out.”

It’s a tragic accident. When it comes to the fire. Crash any car into a tree and it has a good chance of catching on fire. Electric or not. Tesla or not. What is more worrying is the situation with the door handles and the airbags. I can understand why they wouldn’t present themselves if the vehicle has been badly damaged, but someone should still be able to break a window to get in. As for the airbags, I definitely can see how it would be more difficult to get to the driver if they wouldn’t deflate, but I’m not sure it would completely prevent someone to get around.
 

IKV1476

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Driver dies in crash because he was speeding. That's what I get out of this.

People get trapped in car crashes all the time and some even die from the car catching fire and no one being able to get them out of the car in time.
It most certainly is not the fault of the car.
Depending on how the car was damaged from hitting the tree the door could have been compressed in a way that not even a normal door handle would have worked.
Random people saying door handles didn't work is a non point in this. It is why they have "jaws of life" to open up cars with trapped people because the door handles and door are damaged into a non working condition.

Just more sensational "Tesla bad!" story.
 

pendragon1

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tenor.gif
 

fs123

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Driver dies in crash because he was speeding. That's what I get out of this.

People get trapped in car crashes all the time and some even die from the car catching fire and no one being able to get them out of the car in time.
It most certainly is not the fault of the car.
Depending on how the car was damaged from hitting the tree the door could have been compressed in a way that not even a normal door handle would have worked.
Random people saying door handles didn't work is a non point in this. It is why they have "jaws of life" to open up cars with trapped people because the door handles and door are damaged into a non working condition.

Just more sensational "Tesla bad!" story.

Tesla door handles are electronically actuated right?. If power fails then is there a manual override?
 

bigdogchris

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Driver dies in crash because he was speeding. That's what I get out of this.

People get trapped in car crashes all the time and some even die from the car catching fire and no one being able to get them out of the car in time.
It most certainly is not the fault of the car.
Depending on how the car was damaged from hitting the tree the door could have been compressed in a way that not even a normal door handle would have worked.
Random people saying door handles didn't work is a non point in this. It is why they have "jaws of life" to open up cars with trapped people because the door handles and door are damaged into a non working condition.

Just more sensational "Tesla bad!" story.
I suppose even if the door handles were exposed from the vehicle, the door could still be locked as most cars now autolock by default. If the passengers are unconscious in a modern vehicle it's going to be difficult to get them out no matter what car.
 

IKV1476

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Tesla door handles are electronically actuated right?. If power fails then is there a manual override?
Not relevant to this story.
The driver was not "locked" in his car on a hot day in a parking lot sweating and slowly dying from the heat.
He was most likely speeding and crashed, causing complete failure in the door and door opening mechanisms. Damaged doors may not open, even if the handle works, these things happen all the time to doors from being in crashes.
 

Uvaman2

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As mentioned, it matters little if the door was scrunched (even a little would jam it, as it would any car) with the body if the car.
Yes as mentioned this is another bullshit 'bad tesla' story.
Who needs the Chinese, if we can fuck over our own companies for no reason.
 
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Uvaman2

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Dalexx

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Driver dies in crash because he was speeding. That's what I get out of this.

People get trapped in car crashes all the time and some even die from the car catching fire and no one being able to get them out of the car in time.
It most certainly is not the fault of the car.
Depending on how the car was damaged from hitting the tree the door could have been compressed in a way that not even a normal door handle would have worked.
Random people saying door handles didn't work is a non point in this. It is why they have "jaws of life" to open up cars with trapped people because the door handles and door are damaged into a non working condition.

Just more sensational "Tesla bad!" story.

I keep wondering why everytime there is a Telsa crash we have to hear about what went wrong. Should we have a break down of every other fatal crash? Show me were 5 out of every 10 Telsa crashes are fatal and then you'll have my support that they are unsafe cars. But so far, I just see a number of 1 offs. Granted in 5-10 more years we'll have a lot more data and maybe they are terrible cars.
 

DrDoU

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Seems like these cars have more bugs than a outhouse in Manila. No thanks I would rather polute the air first.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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Not relevant to this story.
The driver was not "locked" in his car on a hot day in a parking lot sweating and slowly dying from the heat.
He was most likely speeding and crashed, causing complete failure in the door and door opening mechanisms. Damaged doors may not open, even if the handle works, these things happen all the time to doors from being in crashes.

what is relevant is that giant battery catching fire... you see if I get into a crash with any recently modern car an inertia switch will kill the fuel pump preventing fuel from spraying all over the engine at pressure if the lines are damaged. There is no such fail safe with lithium batteries....once compromised, the risk of fire is REAL.
 

KD5ZXG

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Just got my battery welder, needing 50A from the wall is likely to set eletrical fire of another kind.
Not that it couldn't touch off batteries too I suppose...

The ratrod should be lowridin slow enough to jump off when my crotch spontaneously combusts.
14 Dell dumpster fire waitin to happen. Every pack deemed unsafe by its own management chip.
 
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IKV1476

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what is relevant is that giant battery catching fire... you see if I get into a crash with any recently modern car an inertia switch will kill the fuel pump preventing fuel from spraying all over the engine at pressure if the lines are damaged. There is no such fail safe with lithium batteries....once compromised, the risk of fire is REAL.

I agree about the batteries being potentially more dangerous and prone to starting a fire.
But the news story had hysterical people freaking out about the door not opening, when that can be a common thing in car accidents.

Speeding can lead to crashing.
Crashing can lead to catastrophic damage.
Catastrophic damage can lead to fire.
Fire can lead to death.
Yes, it is the dark side of the karma.
 

mbelue

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Tesla engineer: "in the event of an emergency the door handles may not be accessable, this could lead to occupants dying in the fire."

Tesla management: "so you're telling me there won't be anyone left to sue."
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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I agree about the batteries being potentially more dangerous and prone to starting a fire.
But the news story had hysterical people freaking out about the door not opening, when that can be a common thing in car accidents.

Speeding can lead to crashing.
Crashing can lead to catastrophic damage.
Catastrophic damage can lead to fire.
Fire can lead to death.
Yes, it is the dark side of the karma.

again do you see gas cars catching fire after high speed impacts? Fuel tanks are very well protected from impacts even when high speeds are involved. The battery is literally a structural component of the car and can be compromised fairly easily by comparison
 

Dead Parrot

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~75mph into a tree and folks expect the door handles to work normally? The non-deflating air bags do need to be investigated. Except for the fact it caught fire, looks like it did a good job of staying together and keeping the driver in place. Normally a recipe for driver survival.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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~75mph into a tree and folks expect the door handles to work normally? The non-deflating air bags do need to be investigated. Except for the fact it caught fire, looks like it did a good job of staying together and keeping the driver in place. Normally a recipe for driver survival.

no but i would expect the car not to catch fire....that would be a good start...
 

Shadowed

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again do you see gas cars catching fire after high speed impacts? Fuel tanks are very well protected from impacts even when high speeds are involved. The battery is literally a structural component of the car and can be compromised fairly easily by comparison

The obvious example is the infamous Ford Pinto. Not exactly recent!
 

tunatime

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Can they not put somekind of self spraying fire foam around the pack that deploys after a crash It only has to keep the pack form going up for a couple minutes before fire department shows up.
 

mnewxcv

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from what that terrible article states, there is no indication that anyone there broke any of the windows on the car. So with that, how could they claim the air bags being inflated were keeping them from getting to the driver? Also, just because side curtain airbags are covering the windows doens't mean they haven't deflated. That article cites one witness's report in relation to the air bags not deflating, and it sounds like they didn't fully grasp the situation or does or should happen to a vehicle in the event of a crash.
 

IRSmurf

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Breaking News: Tesla cars aren't invulnerable. Every fatality in a Tesla must be reported in the national news and every tech blog. And Tesla is responsible for every vehicle crash and casualty until attention has moved on and the clicks have paid out.
 

Jim Kim

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What I find the most disturbing is that AutoPilot cannot detect a humongous white rectangle hovering 3 feet over the road in its path.
What is this, 2016???

Now the doors not unlocking I can see being a problem but Air Bags not deflating, how is that even a thing and how would that even hamper a rescue.

again do you see gas cars catching fire after high speed impacts? Fuel tanks are very well protected from impacts even when high speeds are involved. The battery is literally a structural component of the car and can be compromised fairly easily by comparison
https://www.firehouse.com/home/news/10517228/crown-victoria-explosion-kills-texas-officer
Gas tanks ain't perfect. Some LEO's refused to use crown vic's until they were retrofitted.
 
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seanreisk

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So, another Tesla accident, another thread filled with EV haters subjectively hating on electric cars and EV defenders subjectively defending electric cars.

A Tesla is a statistically safe car. It's biggest hazard is not its battery, but its furious hyper-car acceleration. But its safety can be improved.


P.S. How did we get so tribal about this subject? It's proof of how dumb we are as a species that we're even discussing this. You want to know how to prevent future wars? Medicate us until we're primates again, because we'll fight about anything.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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im sorry you wont catch me in a tesla ever.

Is it fun to be manipulated by the media to the extent you are? Overall fatalities in Tesla's are much lower than the average car on the market. These types of things happen EVERY DAY with other cars, they just don't blow up in the news like this unless the name "Tesla" is associated with it for some reason.

I don't think the media are purposefully biased against Tesla, I just think that it's an unfortunate side effect of being a cool new thing. A story about a Tesla is exciting. A story about a Ford, Chevy, Toyota or a Honda, not so much.

All that said, this looks on the surface like it might be a real problem. This is one they are going to have to take a look at. I could see the cool auto appearing door handles being part of the problem here. What happens when they don't get power? Does anyone know, is there a manual override? If there isn't, this is something that should have been caught in a Design FMEA, and a mitigation should have been put in place before launch.

This article is not enough information to draw a conclusion though.
 

M76

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again do you see gas cars catching fire after high speed impacts?
All the time. In fact I see many gas cars catching fire without any impact. But of course if it ain't a tesla it isn't a story.
 

nightanole

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Model S door handles suck in when not in use, and are notorious for breaking. There are companies out there to rebuild/upgrade them. These door handles are electronic only.

The model 3 has mechanical door handles, however one needs to know how to use them. The are always sucked in, and you need to push one end, to have the "handle" end pop out.

Still as others noting, why didnt the air bag deflate? It should have deflated in a few seconds after deploying.


And as far as i know, tesla is paying/training state fire fighters on how to deal with teslas. They train them how to pop the hood and shove the hose in the "incase of fire hose goes here" hole.
 
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