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Tragic Accident: Angela Chao’s Fatal Tesla Incident Raises Safety Concerns

Death of Angela Chao in Tesla accident

To much dismay, Angela Chao, the sister of former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and sister-in-law of Senator Mitch McConnell, died last month in an accident on her 900-acre ranch. The vehicle involved was Tesla Model X. It fell into a man-made pond, and she was unable to escape out of the vehicle. Chao couldn’t open the doors because the electric system had stopped working. The rescue efforts were futile, as she ended up drowning inside the vehicle itself.

A Wall Street Journal report released just recently says that the computerised gear system of the Tesla may have contributed to the crash. It probably had to do with a transition that Tesla had commissioned in 2021. Tesla has switched to this software starting from 2021, and it reportedly posed serious inconvenience to Chao before. Hence, instead of doing a forward move to complete the turn, she had mistakenly shifted to reverse, which led to the car diving into the pond.

It looks like multiple aspects of the Model X have received a blame. Some people argue that the product’s gyroscope parking doors are too complex to use, while others consider touchscreen shifters too risky. However, Chao’s husband, Jim Breyer, doesn’t hold Tesla accountable for the tragedy. He maintains that neither he nor the family blames the company. Breyer and Chao were avid supporters of electric vehicles and owned three Teslas, frequently expressing their admiration for the technology and its environmental benefits. Breyer even considers himself a friend of Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla.

This episode has resulted in criticism and raises question on the safety aspects of Tesla cars, particularly their user interfaces, including their functions. While some raise doubts on the design and technological choices, others with whom Breyer is associated are trusting the company and liking its products. However, this incident highlights cases of unforeseen situations caused by vehicles with advanced automotive technologies along with criticality of vehicle safety protocols.

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