Corby motorist took out entire village's power after crashing Tesla on A43 while mistakenly thinking driver assistance was switched on
A Corby man crashed his Tesla while choosing some music because he thought his driving assistance was on – but it wasn’t.
Stuart Kenny, of Birkdale Drive, Priors Hall, was at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court to admit one charge of driving without due care and attention.
The 36-year-old was driving his white 2021-plate model 3 Tesla at the A43 Stamford Road in Easton-on-the-Hill in March this year when manoeuvred around two bends. He didn’t realise the driving assistance had been over-ridden and continued his journey, taking two handsfree calls and then choosing some music.
As the car began to cross the road, it beeped a warning to Kenny, at which point he pulled the steering wheel, slammed on the brakes and hit the kerb before colliding into a pylon, taking out the power to the nearby village.
Kenny appeared before magistrates on October 16 and pleaded guilty. He was fined £476 and given five points on his driver’s licence. He was also ordered to pay £110 in costs and a £190 victim surcharge.
The incident was attended by fire crews from Stamford Fire Station.
What is Tesla driver assistance?
Tesla models have differing driver assistance which has been a big selling point for people wanting to purchase an electric vehicle from the company part-owned by billioanaire Elon Musk.
The 2019 model has an enhanced autopilot system available as an extra which permits navigation on Autopilot — a driver aide that includes steering assist (including motorway entry and exit help), active cruise control, lane-keeping and automatic lane-changing. Despite the assistance, under current law in the UK all drivers must remain in control of their vehicle and keep hands on the wheel at all times.
In America, there is a long-running investigation being undertaken into driver assistance by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after a series of accidents involving Teslas and emergency vehicles attending road crashes. It was revealed in 2022 that the brand was responsible for 273 out of a total of 400 accidents in the US involving driver assist.