Tesla has been at the forefront of electric vehicle technology for more than a decade. The car safety features the automaker has implemented have made it easier and safer for drivers and passengers. That includes its innovative camera system that provides pertinent information to designers to create ways to improve the driving experience for all vehicle occupants. The feature also extends to the safety of those not in the vehicle, such as pedestrians.
Coincidentally, the technology can protect drivers from scammers, as was the case recently when a man near New Orleans attempted to fake an accident. Since Tesla records all footage from the in-car camera, the vehicle owner could prove he was the victim of a con and was being scammed instead of guilty of a hit and run.
Tesla is always watching
Since 2017, Tesla has been utilizing interior cabin cameras on all of its vehicles. Designed to capture the activity of car occupants before an accident occurs, the recorded camera footage gets uploaded to the innovative automaker. The premise is that the information will help engineers improve safety features, preventing future accidents.
Despite apparent concerns of privacy issues, many people don’t even realize the camera exists. Recently, a system update enhanced the monitoring of distracted drivers, but in reality, it just made the voyeuristic system a little weirder.
The cabin camera is always on unless drivers are savvy enough to turn off the share feature in the Tesla menu settings. The new system update now issues alerts to inattentive drivers who may be using a cell phone or looking away from the road. While some drivers do admit to paying more attention when they hear the alert sound, many are concerned about being under surveillance while in the supposed privacy of their vehicle.
A scammer attempts to fake an accident
While many are concerned about the interior cabin camera, a Tesla driver in Louisiana is thankful for the exterior cameras installed on his vehicle.
NDTV recently reported that Arthur Bates Jr. contacted police after claiming to be hit by a car in a busy gas station parking lot. According to the police report, the 47-year-old man fell to the pavement when a Tesla vehicle “backed into him.” He also claimed the driver never stopped and left the scene following the incident.
It turns out Bates was faking the entire accident, possibly in an attempt to file a fraudulent lawsuit against the vehicle owner. Luckily, the 360-degree Tesla camera system caught the whole thing on tape.
The recorded footage clearly shows the man suddenly falling behind the Tesla without any provocation as he attempts to dramatize an accident. The uninjured man can be seen lying on the ground, trying to catch the attention of passersby. The Tesla camera footage shows him lying on the pavement for several minutes, rolling to his side at one point to make a call on his cell phone, which presumably was to 911 to report the incident. The driver of the Tesla can be seen on camera checking on the man before leaving the parking lot.
The Tesla camera system recorded the whole incident
When Slidell police officers arrived at the scene, they dispatched a fire truck and ambulance since the man was complaining of back, leg, and neck injuries.
The New York Post reported that when police “tracked down the Tesla driver, he told officers Bates had intentionally jumped behind the car as it was reversing.”
After viewing the recorded footage from the Tesla electric vehicle, police determined Bates was indeed lying. Officers confirmed the whole incident had been staged. Slidell Police issued a statement saying Bates admitted to lying after learning of the camera footage. He was later arrested for falsifying a police report.
After the incident, police released the video, and it immediately went viral on social media with millions of views and more than 6,000 comments. One person said, “He picked the wrong car,” while another said, “This happens way more than people think. Cameras do help sometimes, after all.”