Tesla To Face Safety Trial In Seoul For 2020 Crash That Killed South Korean President's Friend

Tesla To Face Safety Trial In Seoul For 2020 Crash That Killed South Korean President's Friend

Even as Tesla Inc. TSLA faces an investigation into a Model Y crash in China, another criminal trial connected to an accident in Seoul in December 2020 is about to start in a South Korean court.

What Happened: In late 2020, a white Tesla Model X smashed into a parking lot wall in Seoul, killing a lawyer who was a close friend of the South Korean president. 

While the driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter, he blames Tesla for the crash, reported Reuters. 

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Choi Woan-jong alleged that the Elon Musk-led company's Model X sped out of control on its own and the brakes failed at the time of the accident, raising questions about the safety of Tesla cars.

Choi told the publication that he suffers flashbacks and depression and has not been able to find work as a driver since the crash. He added that the car accelerated on its own and smashed into the wall after its side mirrors began folding in and out. “It felt like the car was swept away by a hurricane.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comment.

The case also drew the attention of many safety advocates in the Asian nation who want to change the U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) provision that exempts Tesla from local standards. The report noted that Tesla is not required to follow Seoul's regulations of at least one front-seat and back-seat door to have a mechanical failsafe because the FTA exempts carmakers with sales under 50,000 vehicles from local safety rules.

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