US Probing Issues with Tesla’s Autopilot After Series of Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), several collisions with parked emergency vehicles has prompted the U.S. government to open a formal allegation into Tesla’s autopilot feature. Officials are trying to determine whether the partially automated driving system has trouble spotting parked safety vehicles. The NHTSA posted the action to their website on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.
Since June of 2016, the NHTSA has investigated 31 collisions that involved partially automated driver assist systems. Out of those crashes, 25 involved the Tesla Autopilot; 10 deaths were reported in these accidents. In 2018 alone, there were 11 crashes where 17 people were injured and one was killed while driving a Tesla on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control.
U.S. Probing Issues with Tesla’s Autopilot
According to NHTSA investigation documents, the purpose of the investigation into the system installed in 765,000 Tesla vehicles is to “…assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.” The probe will also look into how the system detects objects and events on the road and where it is allowed to operate.
An investigation could lead to a recall or other enforcement action by NHTSA.
The vehicles affected by the probe encompass Tesla’s entire current model lineup sold in the U.S., (Models Y, X, S and 3) since the start of its 2014 model year.
Recommendations from the NTSB
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has also been active in investigating some of Tesla’s past crashes but has no enforcement powers, has several recommendations for keeping drivers safe while using the autopilot feature. Their recommendations include:
- The NHTSA and Tesla should limit Autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate.
- The NHTSA should require Tesla to create a better way to make sure drivers are paying attention to the road while using the autopilot feature.
- The NHTSA should have insight into what autopilot vehicles can and cannot do.
The NTSB has expressed concern that drivers have misused or behaved irresponsibly when they are behind the wheel of a Tesla vehicle with the autopilot feature enabled. Some real-life examples of drivers behaving irresponsibly while driving with the autopilot feature turned on are a driver who drove drunk and one who was riding in the back seat while their car rolled down a highway.
Tesla has not yet responded to the investigation. For their part, Tesla has issued warnings that drivers must be ready to jump in and operate their vehicle manually at any time. While the steering wheels in these vehicles do have the ability to detect pressure to make sure drivers are behind the wheel, drivers have been able to find ways to trick the system.
Product liability law
Defective and dangerous products cause thousands of injuries every year. If you were involved in a car crash caused by a defective part, contact a product liability lawyer today; they may be able to help you recover damages for your injuries.
In successful product liability cases, a product manufacturer, distributor or seller is held liable for the injuries caused by the defective or dangerous product. Product liability laws vary by state but generally require that a product meet ordinary consumer expectations that a product be free of defects or dangers. When a product fails to meet this threshold, it could end up as part of a product liability lawsuit.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!