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Tesla Autopilot System Involved In Far More Crashes Than Previously Known

car crash attorneyFREEMONT, CALIFORNIA (June 10, 2023) – A new report from the Washington Post has revealed that Tesla’s Autopilot system has been involved in far more fatal car accidents than previous reporting would indicate. 

In one instance, a school bus was stopped with a stop sign and red warning lights. A Tesla Model Y in Autopilot mode allegedly never slowed down and struck a 17-year-old child. 

He was seriously injured in the crash. The Washington Post is reporting that there have been at least 736 Autopilot crashes since 2019. This came after an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At least 17 of these crashes involved a fatality. This is up from the previous reporting that definitively linked only three deaths to the technology. 

In particular, Tesla vehicles in Autopilot mode seem to have difficulty stopping for emergency vehicles with their lights on. It is essential to point out that a crash involving the driver-assist system does not imply that technology was the cause. 

The vast majority of crashes involving driver-assist systems do involve Tesla. Subaru ranks second with 23 crashes since 2019. There have also been crashes reported where a Tesla vehicle was in “full self-driving” mode. 

Full self-driving mode allows the vehicle to perform many of the functions of a person including stopping at stop signs and yielding to pedestrians. But the driver is still required to monitor the vehicle at all times. 

Liability For Tesla Autopilot Crashes

Tesla is an industry leader in driver-assist and self-driving technology. However, despite what a name like “Autopilot” or “full self-driving” might suggest, Tesla vehicles are still not able to drive without the aid of humans. But this has not stopped many people from being over-confident in the technology. Indeed, there are numerous reports of people falling asleep behind the wheel of their Tesla as it drives down the freeway. There are a number of flaws with Tesla’s Autopilot system.

  • People have already demonstrated that they will misuse it. 
  • Arguably, Tesla has not made the limitations of its driver-assist systems clear enough for consumers.
  • When in Autopilot mode, Tesla vehicles will not stop for stop signs or street lights. 
  • Even in full self-driving mode, Tesla vehicles still seem to occasionally have trouble stopping for stationary vehicles. 

There could be multiple forms of negligence for any accident involving a crash with a Tesla. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 22350, no person shall operate a motor vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent than would be safe. If a driver is in Autopilot mode and fails to take control and slow their vehicle, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. But liability could also extend well beyond any errant driver in a Tesla. 

As a company, Tesla could be liable for defects with its Autopilot or self-driving software. Companies have a legal obligation to create products that are reasonably safe. They must also warn consumers about the non-obvious dangers associated with the use of their products. When a company like Tesla has actual or constructive notice of dangers associated with their vehicles, they must take action. Failing to take action to mitigate those dangers could make them liable for an accident where someone is injured or killed. 

Tesla is already facing a number of lawsuits for accidents involving Autopilot mode. 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 demonstrates 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.” There are a number of steps that should be taken after any accident with a Tesla.

  • Eyewitnesses should be interviewed. 
  • Medical records should be preserved. 
  • It should be determined if Tesla was utilizing Autopilot or full self-driving mode. 
  • An experienced personal injury attorney should be contacted. 

Any person that is injured in a car accident with a Tesla may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Many accident victims may not realize the full extent of their injuries for several weeks or months after a collision. It is important to seek legal guidance after any collision. A personal injury attorney can fight on your behalf and help you secure a fair settlement for your injuries. 

Investigating A Tesla Autopilot Crash

We at Samer Habbas & Associates, PC extend our best wishes to all of the people injured in car accidents with Tesla vehicles. Driver-assist systems have the ability to make our roads substantially safer. But this technology should not be rolled out prematurely. It is our sincere hope that there is increased oversight and regulation of this technology to help maximize safety.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a car accident with a Tesla? You may have legal recourse through a product liability claim. Our team of highly experienced product liability attorneys is here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of assistance after a collision we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 951-498-4335.