An open letter to the Tesla fan who wants to run over a kid to prove a point

Dear Tesla fan who wants to run over a kid to prove a point,

Hi, my name is Andy and I am a transportation editor. I saw on Twitter – yes I know, not a great place to see stuff – that you were going run over a child to prove a point. Something about Tesla and Autopilot and a video on Twitter – again, bad place, must avoid – from a test that shows a Tesla vehicle driving over a child sized doll and you want to prove those tests are fake and wrong so you would try to put on a real kid drive to prove your point.

Is there anyone in the Bay Area with a kid who can run in front of my car in Full Self-Driving Beta to make a point? I promise I won’t run over them… (will take out if necessary)

(this is a serious request)

— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) August 9, 2022

So I thought I’d write you this letter and say this:

do not.

Do not do that.

Really, I wouldn’t do that at all. Don’t force a kid to walk in front of your 4,000 pound metal box traveling with god knows what speed just to prove a point to some dummy on Twitter who posted something and totally freaked you out.

Don’t risk a kid’s life to win a Twitter battle.

I see you’re a big fan of Tesla and Elon Musk, with whom you seem to have a pretty cordial relationship on Twitter. That is very nice! I’m glad you have friends on the internet. You seem to have many. 129,000 followers! That’s a lot more than me. Congratulations.

Maybe your test is going well. Maybe the kid is alive and your point is proven and the people you tried to prove otherwise are so ashamed that they turn into corn on the cob. But I can’t help but worry that some of your many followers will see you tweet about running over a kid with your Tesla to prove a point and thinking, “Hey, I could do that too !” And maybe their tests aren’t going well. And then oops, dead children.

You’re a big fan of Full Self-Driving, the Tesla driver assistance feature that sounds like an autonomous driving system, but isn’t because the driver must remain vigilant (as you noticed). You want to prove it’s safe, despite all the… security experts and consumer advocates who say no. I’m glad you like your car’s cool new technology. But it’s just a thing in a car. Kids are much better! They say weird things and giggle at stupid jokes and can be really cute at times. Let’s keep the kids out of the Twitter fight, okay?

I doubted whether I should write this letter at all

I understand that you think Full Self-Driving is completely safe and you really want to prove that point to your followers, and based on your personal experience it seems to be true. But I think you are confusing your own anecdotal evidence with statistical evidence an informed logical fallacy. Don’t worry, people do this all the time!

Let’s leave the safety testing to the experts, okay? Every day, Tesla and other companies working on driver assistance systems and autonomous driving technology run thousands of tests and drive millions of miles. There are better ways to get senpai to notice you without harming children. Anime Photoshops, weed jokes, COD memes. Our man is an open book. And you actually wrote the guide to getting Elon to respond to your tweets!

I don’t know if you seriously want to run over a kid, but online threats often manifest as real disasters and I’d probably hate myself if I didn’t say anything at all. Every year many children die in car accidents, but the numbers are falling. Let’s keep it that way.

So please. Please. Do not drive over the child.

Sincerely, a man you saw wanted to run over a kid to prove a point and thought that was a bad idea.

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