I recently spoke with Twitter user James. W. Law, who goes by the Twitter name Wreckonize, and he shared some of his ideas with me on how Tesla could help save the lives of emergency personnel and keep Tesla owners safe while avoiding tickets. James is a “wreck tech and accident scene reconstructionist” exclusively for “struck by” incidents involving the death of emergency personnel such as firefighters, wreck techs, police, and EMS personnel. The video below is a part of a playlist, E-Mode Dojo Wreckonize Tesla.
James works specifically on the Slow Down and Move Over laws pertaining to vehicle behavior while encountering an emergency vehicle on the highway. James has survived four “struck-by” incidents during his 32-year career.
This along with the death of a friend and mentor 26 years ago are what inspired him to create solutions such as E-Mode.
I spoke with Law last week and he had a lot to share with me. He wanted to share E-Mode and the benefits for Tesla, the Tesla community and the general public.
“E-Mode is a safety feature and ticket avoidance feature that uses a simple ‘Wreckonizable’ light sequence that alternates between emergency hazards and turn signals which indicate there’s an unpredictable anomaly that is otherwise known as a ‘Special hazard’
“This would be for stationary emergency vehicles such as Police cars , Tow trucks, Fire Trucks, EMS, or any other stopped vehicle on the side of a highway.
“E-Mode preemptively warns surrounding traffic that the Slow Down and Move Over or Stop protocols/laws are invoked. This warns everyone that there is an emergency scene or potential hazard ahead.
“E-Mode gives you lane change priority so you can do an emergency lane change while simultaneously indicating to on-scene Emergency personnel that the Tesla is situation-aware.
“E-Mode also indicates no passing so vehicles can do the ‘zipper merge’ which allows vehicles to have enough space to slow down and move over to change lanes. It offers communication between intelligent people and intelligent vehicles. Also, Tesla to Tesla. E-Mode distracts distracted driving.”
How This Benefits Tesla Owners
Along with reducing the risk of secondary incidents and rear-end collisions, E-Mode will help Tesla owners avoid getting SDAMO tickets. Other benefits include lowering insurance rates, protection during breakdowns, and reducing your chances of hitting and killing emergency personnel such as a police officers, EMT, firefighters, and wreck techs — avoiding a class 2 or 3 felony.
“E-Mode would help ensure that Tesla continues to be the ONLY major company with zero struck-by incidents involving the death of an emergency personnel.”
He explained to me that this would prevent police officers from having to pull a Tesla owner over and give a ticket for not following the SDAMO Laws. This keeps the police out of danger. If a police officer is in a Tesla, E-Mode would be an added protection for them while at an intervention.
For Teslas, E-Mode could also activate Sentry Mode and record everything around the vehicle. This would help both the Tesla owners and the police if there is any type of investigation or secondary incident.
“The government right now is cracking down on these laws. The fines are constantly increasing and vary — $237 up to $1000 and up to $2,000. Some states require mandatory court appearances, points off your drivers license, and increased insurance rates. You could also get a ticket for speeding adjacent to the hazard, failing to slow down and move over. Some states, it’s 30 days to 6 months jail time.”
He told me that Pennsylvania handed out 18,000 tickets, and in Florida, the number was 11,000 tickets.
“The NHTSA says that 70% of people are not aware of this law. The 30% that know are mostly truckers,” he added while explaining that truckers respond to the protocols.
The GOA, DOT, NTSB, and NHTSA have a budget exceeding $5 million into looking for solutions for Emergency Responders Safety, he told me.
“How do you train 427 million Americans and the rest of the world how to slow down and move over or stop? Easy, train one Tesla!”
Tesla Could Automate E-Mode And Save Lives
Benefits For Tesla Automating E-Mode: The Ultimate ‘Punch Buggy Game’
Although Law has been actively using E-Mode since the early ’90s, it originated when a convoy of emergency vehicles would travel closely to reduce drag coefficient to save fuel. The units would move as one, and when the lead vehicle would detect any stationary vehicles on the side of the highway, by courtesy, they would perform an emergency lane change by flashing the hazards three times, then the turn signals three times, and repeat this until it passed the static vehicle.
The reaction response rate of other vehicles (especially Semis) in the first sequence is about 70% (3 to 4.2 seconds). By the third sequence, it’s a 99.9% response rate. This means that the vehicles in the second lane would slow down to let you change lanes, and other vehicles in the first lane would also slow down and move over (SDAMO).
“The best way to show E-Mode was to simply show what a Tesla would see while passing any static vehicle.”
Law told me that he was able to raise funds and rent a Tesla to demonstrate active E-Mode. He created what he named “Dojo Trainers” to show active E-Mode. In the videos, E-Mode was done manually by first turning on the hazards and then the turn signals and then toggling the hazards off and on.
The goal is to have E-mode automated. This can be done in two ways. One: it could be that Tesla recognizes, or “Wreckonizes,” one of the five possible anomalies and triggers the respective E-Mode sequence. Two: it could be the driver who “Wreckonizes” the anomaly and triggers E-Mode by a simple press of a button on the steering wheel or some hazard activation button on screen.
“This could be the ultimate punch-buggy game (minus the punching and bruising) to see who will Wreckonize the emergency vehicles or hazards first — you or your Tesla?”
“Pro tip for the humans and AI: If you detect a Semi or other vehicle changing lanes from the right to the left when there are no other vehicles in front of them, this is a first indication that there’s a hazard further downstream.”
Mr. Law advises drivers that they will probably win at first and spot the anomaly before the Tesla. But in time, he believes that Tesla’s intelligence will surpass and eventually win all the time. Then the game will eventually phase out once the NN is fully trained. The data sent to Dojo can be extremely beneficial for Tesla. It will theoretically be able to convince regulators that Teslas do not get tickets in these high-risk situations and they protect the heroes that work on the side of the roads as well as the surrounding traffic.
“This would gain the hearts of the loved ones who worry about their safe return.”
“What do you call someone who saves a hero’s life? A Tesla owner.”
With E-Mode as a software update, the whole fleet can be aware of these laws and how to follow them. (Who doesn’t love a good software update addiction fix?) This would also mean zero tickets for future robotaxis in these situations.
“By automating the emergency protocols, people will become more aware of the law, and emergency workers won’t be put at risk. It makes it safer for everybody. I find this a crucial thing. Tesla can Wreckonize tow trucks, police cars, etc., and take the appropriate action. This is a crucial thing and goes hand in hand with Elon’s tenacity about safety and his willingness to go well above the norm.”
Law shared the idea that Asimov’s three laws concerning AI could be known as TeslaW.
“There’s a fundamental truth about any static vehicle on the side of the highway, and that is that it occupies a certain volume of space and that a human exited of said vehicle also occupies a volume of space. Therefore, there’s a non drivable space automatically attributed to the surrounding of the stationary vehicle. In the name of safety and in respect to Asimov’s three laws concerning AI, let this truth be known as TeslaW. The W is representative to both variable volumes and the known laws of physics.
“Slow Down And Move Over Or Stop laws indicate that when you see a static vehicle on the side of the highway that you need to reduce your speed and change lanes and get as far away as possible from the incident. If you absolutely cannot change lanes, then you still must slow down and move over to the line opposing the incident.”
He further pointed out that if necessary to avoid harming a human, and moving over to the line is not enough, then slow down to the speed of zero mph. All lanes, he emphasized, have to be stop ready. He also pointed out that just slowing down has led to deaths. Also, just moving over or already being a lane over and not slowing down has led to deaths.
“There has never, ever been a death caused by someone who slowed down and moved over, not one! In short, that first lane is non drivable space.”
The 3 E-Modes
Law explained in detail what the three E-modes are:
- Right Lane Anomaly (RLA //) — indicates to SDAMO to your left. (3 x Hazards, 3 x left turn signals x 3 or until clearing anomaly).
- Left Lane Anomaly (LLA ) — indicates to SDAMO to your right (3 x hazards, 3 x right turn signals x 3 or clearing anomaly).
- All Stop (XX) — indicates to others to Stop. (Brake lights long, short, short, long x 3 or duration of hazard). Especially beneficial for the 15% of people who have a depth perception problem.
He noted that unlike hazards, All Stop E-Mode sequence ( X in morse code) indicates that the vehicle is “Not in motion.” This can be attributed to the following examples.
- Example 1. Tesla Semi stops behind a school bus with flashing lights.
- Example 2. Tesla detects crash pileup like the recent Texas incident.
- Example 3. UFO landing on highway tractor beam avoidance.
Will Tesla “Wreckonize” E-Mode?
Law told me that he is sending in the video presentation (available on this playlist here) to Andrej Karpathy and Tesla’s AI team. In the video, Law gives a short address to Elon Musk and explains why he wants E-Mode to go to Tesla.
“420 with Elon — the best part.”
In a future article, depending on whether or not Law hears back from Tesla on his idea, he wants to share the story of how E-Mode got its name.
Law also shares bonus info for the nerds.
“Wreckonize’ — although some might speculate that the word ‘Wreckonize’ is a play on words, as in ‘Eye’s on wreck= Wreckonize’ due to the fact that any stationary vehicle is a potential wreck, this is purely coincidental. The ‘W’ is representative of all five anomalies that may occur. The ‘W’ is made up of chevrons, two and two //. Chevrons dictate to traffic what side to move over too. It could be considered as the resistance value in traffic flow.
// = Move over to the left
= Move over to the right”
Featured image designed by Johnna Crider with a photo of James Law (used with permission).