A Montana state trooper reported a troubling Tesla car crash over the weekend, telling the Detroit Free Press that a Model X driver had turned on his car's autopilot system before the vehicle crashed. On a two-lane highway the vehicle began to leave the road and hit a wooden guard rail. The driver stopped the vehicle before it fully left the road.The driver and his passenger were unharmed, while the car was destroyed.

"Autopilot did not detect a wood stake on the road, hit more than 20 wood stakes, tire on front passenger side and lights flyed [sic] away," a self-professed friend of the driver who goes by the username Eresan wrote to an enthusiast group. "The speed limit is 55, he was driving 60 on autopilot. His car is completely destroyed."

CNet explains that Model S sedans and Model X SUV vehicles use cameras and radar while in Autopilot mode to steer the car in its lane and match traffic speeds. But it's not as simple as an autonomous mode, the company clarifies in a statement. "The data suggests that the driver's hands were not on the steering wheel, as no force was detected on the steering wheel for over 2 minutes after autosteer was engaged (even a very small amount of force, such as one hand resting on the wheel, will be detected)," a spokesperson said. "This is contrary to the terms of use that are agreed to when enabling the feature and the notification presented in the instrument cluster each time it is activated... As road conditions became increasingly uncertain, the vehicle again alerted the driver to put his hands on the wheel. He did not do so and shortly thereafter the vehicle collided with a post on the edge of the roadway."

At the end of June it came out that a Florida man had died in a Model S crash in May, which marked a sad first. That revelation, the Wall Street Journal reports, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission: Should the company have disclosed the accident to investors in a securities filing, they ask?

Also reacting to that death, an op-ed in the New York Times wondered if the driver might have been "the first casualty of the widespread and potentially dangerous belief that autonomous cars are much closer to being road-ready than they actually are." Early adopters who clamor to get their hands on — or, rather, off — the wheel of self-driving cars have so far appeared less than concerned about that possibility.

Previously: Man Killed In Self-Driving Tesla Crash
The Self-Driving Car Lobby Is Here, And It's Driven By Uber, Google, Lyft, Ford, And Volvo