Tesla driver says she slammed into fire truck on Autopilot

Elon Musk poses with a Tesla outside the company’s factory in Silicon Valley October 2011

On Friday a Tesla Model S crashed into the back of a firetruck in South Jordan, Utah.

While consumers nationwide have reason to be on edge when it comes to the fast-growing self-driving vehicle industry, Tesla's Autopilot feature has been a hot button issue for some time now, despite the company touting it as "the future of driving".

The Tesla driver, who claimed to be using the autosteer feature, was transported to hospital with a broken right foot, while the driver of the vehicle that was hit was checked for injuries related to whiplash but not admitted for further checks. If activated, the vehicle will be able to change lanes, steer, brake, and park on its own.

Facing increasing problems that have raised concerns about both Tesla's technology and manufacturing operations, CEO Elon Musk has ordered a shake-up of the company's management structure.

"What's actually awesome about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 m.p.h. and the driver only broke an ankle", he added.

While those crashes could raise concerns about the safety of Tesla's products, the more immediate threat to the company's viability is lagging Model 3 production at its Fremont, California assembly plant.

Just last week, the NTSB opened an investigation into a case where a fatal Fort Lauderdale crash raised eyebrows, as it was the agency's fourth active probe into the automaker's electric vehicles.

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Complicating Tesla's problems, however, have been reports of a series of recent crashes that have resulted in several deaths and injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not opened an investigation into the crash, spokesman Keith Holloway said, though it could decide to do so.

In March, a Tesla Model X was on autopilot mode when it collided with a barrier on Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif., killing the 38-year-old driver. Two people died in that incident, although the NTSB does not believe that Tesla's semi-autonomous system was to blame. "It is not a self-driving system", Musk said.

With the latest crash in Utah, it will draw additional scrutiny, and apparently Tesla CEO Elon Musk thought it was time to defend the feature.

In March, an Arizona pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber auto, in the first death of its kind.

"As a reminder for drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles, it is the driver's responsibility to stay alert, drive safely, and be in control of the vehicle at all times", Winkler added.

There was light rain falling and roads were wet when the crash occurred, police said in a statement.

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