The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into Tesla’s assisted driving system known as Autopilot. According to NHTSA, there have been 11 identified incidents involving Tesla vehicles using Autopilot or its adaptive cruise control system and parked emergency vehicles. The investigation will include Tesla Models S, X, Y, and 3 for model years 2014-2021.
Tesla’s Autopilot has been frequently accused of being poorly named, as autopilot implies that the vehicle can drive itself. There have been numerous reports of Tesla drivers abusing Autopilot, including driving drunk, sleeping behind the wheel, and even an infamous incident in California where a driver was riding in the backseat while Autopilot was enabled. If used properly, however, Autopilot appears to significantly reduce the risk of a crash. Tesla has recently implemented a safety feature that includes monitoring drivers to ensure they are paying attention to the road while the vehicle is in Autopilot mode.
The NHTSA investigation will seek to determine if there is a specific flaw with Tesla’s driver-assist features. Most of the crashes that will be investigated occurred at night and involved safety equipment, including road flares, road cones, and an arrow board. Seven of these collisions resulted in 17 injuries and one fatality. NHTSA has investigated at least 25 crashes resulting in 10 deaths involving Tesla’s using Autopilot since June 2016.
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Driver-assist features such as Tesla’s Autopilot and adaptive cruise control do likely improve overall driver safety. But when an accident does occur, it makes sense to investigate what may have happened, as these types of incidents can reduce consumer enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles. It is expected that the adoption of autonomous vehicles, whenever it may happen, will drastically reduce the number of auto accidents.
The victims of auto accidents are entitled to medical care, vehicle repair, lost wages, and compensation for their pain and suffering. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps those who have been injured in car crashes pursue their case. We offer free consultations, so if you have been injured in a car accident, call 888-517-9888 today.