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Nine People Injured In San Francisco Bay Bridge Car Accident Involving Tesla Using “Full Self-Driving” Feature


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (January 10, 2023) – At least 9 people were injured in a Tesla car accident with multiple vehicles on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. 

San Francisco officials are saying that the accident took place on Thanksgiving Day. A white Tesla was traveling on the San Francisco Bay Bridge while using the new “Full Self-Driving” feature. 

This feature is still in its beta version and has been rolled out to a select number of Tesla owners. The white Tesla began merging into the far left lane on the Bay Bridge.

The Tesla immediately started braking despite the fact that there were no cars directly ahead of it. It was then rear-ended by a car which caused a chain reaction crash with several other vehicles. 

Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help all of the victims. A total of nine people required treatment. The cause of the sudden braking remains unknown at this time. 

Surveillance footage of the crash shows the Tesla was entering a part of the roadway with bright sunlight. In the past several months, a number of driver’s have complained that their Tesla engaged in “phantom braking.”

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time. 

Liability For Tesla Car Accidents

Tesla produces some of the most advanced electric vehicles on the market. But this is not the only thing that makes them stand out. Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk are determined to be industry leaders in self-driving technology. In September 2014, Tesla rolled out it’s “autopilot” feature. Despite what the name might suggest, Tesla vehicles in autopilot mode are not capable of driving without human intervention. A Tesla in autopilot mode can maintain a set speed and brake when necessary. 

  • Drivers still need to monitor the vehicle at all times during autopilot. 
  • Drivers should not use autopilot on residential streets. 
  • Drivers should not use autopilot during periods of inclement weather. 

Autopilot has certainly differentiated Tesla among other car manufacturers. But this has not come without its share of issues. Many people have complained that Tesla releases new features like autopilot without testing the technology to make sure that it is safe. A number of people have been injured or killed in collisions with Tesla vehicles that were in autopilot mode. For example, Tesla vehicles in autopilot have rear-ended stopped emergency vehicles on several occasions. This has prompted a series of lawsuits. 

According to one report from the Washington Post, there were 273 crashes reported in 2021 involving a Tesla vehicle in autopilot mode. Despite safety concerns from lawmakers and some in the public, Tesla began rolling out its “Full Self-Driving” beta package in November 2022. Just days after the release of this software, there was a multi-vehicle crash on the San Francisco Bay Bridge that injured nine people. Consumers have been very quick to trust the technology that Tesla uses. Some people have even fallen asleep while their Tesla is going down the road. But this heightened level of trust is simply not warranted at this point. 

Part of the problem is that Tesla is under an enormous amount of pressure from institutional investors and shareholders to roll out autonomous driving as quickly as possible. Competition from companies like Waymo and Uber has intensified the race to commercialize fully autonomous driving. Tesla could face civil liability for a crash when its vehicles are utilizing autopilot or full self-driving. Car manufactures have a legal obligation to create vehicles and software that is reasonably safe. They must also warn about the non-obvious dangers associated with the use of their products. 

Many of the lawsuits piling up against Tesla claim that the company failed to remedy defects with its software. Consider, for example, one lawsuit working its way through the courts in Texas. According to trial lawyers in that case, “Tesla’s blatant refusal to adopt additional safeguards or to fix the issues with its Autopilot system demonstrate a lack of supervision and oversight of  Tesla’s Autopilot system. Tesla has intentionally decided not to remedy these issues and must be held liable and accountable, especially when it has detailed knowledge of the risks and dangers associated with its Autopilot system.” Victims of car accidents involving Tesla vehicles have suffered a number of serious injuries including:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries

When a car manufacturer like Tesla fails to warn consumers about the dangers with their products, this could form the basis of a product liability claim. Any person that is injured by a Tesla in autopilot or full self-driving mode may be able to seek some measure of justice through a bodily injury claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, though, car manufacturers will fight extremely hard to deny all responsibility for any accident. A product liability attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are. 

Investigating A Tesla Car Accident

We at Samer Habbas & Associates, PC extend our best wishes to all of the people who were injured in this accident on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. It is our sincere hope that measures are put in place to prevent other collisions like this. Tesla should not roll out these new software features before they have been thoroughly tested. Our roadways should not be the testing ground for technology that isn’t ready for prime time. 

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a car accident with a Tesla vehicle? You may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims get the medical and financial support that they need in order to recover. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of assistance after an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 949-727-9300.

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