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Tesla Autopilot Feature Under Fire Again - Carlos Gamino
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Tesla Autopilot Feature Causes Another Crash

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By Carlos Gamino

It’s 2018 – we should have flying cars by now, shouldn’t we?

Maybe not.

Tesla has been testing driverless cars for more than two years, and it can’t seem to work out the kinks. In mid-May, a Utah woman broke her foot when her Tesla was on auto-pilot and slammed into a stopped fire truck. The woman told police that she was looking at her phone when the crash occurred and that she was traveling at about 60 miles per hour; several witnesses agreed with her estimate of the vehicle’s speed. Witnesses also said that the car didn’t swerve or even slow down before it slammed into the fire truck, which was stopped at a traffic light at the time of the crash.

The car’s manufacturer issued a statement that said its Autopilot feature requires “constant vigilance” and isn’t meant to take over driving while the driver does something else. 

This wasn’t the first Autopilot-related accident Tesla has faced, either. In 2016, a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode crashed into a tractor-trailer, killing the driver. And in March, a Tesla Model X rammed into a highway divider in Mountain View, California, killing that driver as well. (In that case, the driver’s family is considering suing the company because the driver allegedly raised concerns prior to the accident about the feature failing to perform on the same stretch of highway.)

Elon Musk, Tesla founder, tweeted, “It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in the past year get almost no coverage,” and “What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 mph and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death.” Musk did acknowledge that no technology is perfect but that “a system that, on balance, saves lives & reduces injuries should be released.”

What Do You Think?

Did you even know that the Autopilot feature was part of many Teslas sold today? Would you buy a car that had this feature, and would you use it in light of its history? I’d love to hear what you think, so please chime in on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino