The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that the design of Tesla’s Autopilot feature contributed to a crash in January 2018. Fortunately, no one was hurt when the Model S sedan crashed into the back of a parked fire truck in California. In May 2016, a driver of a Model S was killed in a crash that the NTSB says the autopilot feature also contributed to. Although the feature is called “Autopilot” it is not a truly self-driving feature and requires driver attention.
Why Tesla is Partly to Blame
Drivers using Autopilot are supposed to remain attentive and engaged so that they can take over control whenever needed. But the feature can be misused and abused. The driver in the 2018 accident had been using the feature for 14 minutes, had not actively steered for the last 13 minutes and had not applied pressure to the steering wheel during the last four minutes before the crash.
The NTSB believes that Tesla is not doing enough to prevent drivers from misusing the feature.
Semi-automated features in vehicles are meant to make driving safer and prevent accidents caused by human error. As they improve, they may do just that, but in the meantime overreliance on the feature could cause accidents that would not have happened if drivers had to do all the work themselves and did not get complacent and bored with monitoring the vehicle.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving Autopilot or another semi-automated feature, call the Law Office of J. Clay McCaslin at 503-239-1910 or email us today to learn more about how you can recover full compensation.