Accidents Involving Tesla: An Overview
Tesla is the leading electric vehicle brand and one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. In 2020, they delivered nearly 500,000 Tesla vehicles to consumers. Their cars have become a symbol of both environmental consciousness and luxury. But when it comes to accidents involving Tesla and its automobiles, the consequences can be serious, and many drivers have found out the hard way. For those victims hurt in accidents involving Tesla, filing a car insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit might be the only way for them to recover compensation and get the means they need to move on with their life.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident involving Tesla, your willingness to contact a personal injury attorney can help you get your life back on track. But given the new nature of this technology, your lawsuit might also help bring awareness to a growing source of vehicle accident causes.
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Tesla Autopilot Accident Concerns
Many of the concerns over accidents involving Tesla have to do with the use of Tesla autopilot. The concept of self-driving technology is still relatively new and most drivers are distrusting of it as a result. But that discomfort only gets worse when accidents involving Tesla Autopilot injure or kill drivers and passengers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that carmakers need to begin tracking all crashes involving trucks or vehicles with advanced driver-assistance. This would affect cars with Tesla’s Autopilot or General Motors’s Super Cruise. According to the NHTSA, the makers should report accidents involving Tesla or GM assistance technology no later than one day after learning about them. Examples of some accidents that have already occurred include those in which airbags have gone off, a vehicle has to be towed, or a person is taken to the hospital or killed.
While some of that is a general safety issue, the government is aware of the public’s reluctance to accept autonomous cars as safe. The goal is to get a better handle on just how many accidents involving Tesla and similar vehicles happen and why to improve safety and public confidence. Tesla’s marketing has often featured claims like “full self-driving” technology, which might lead drivers to put too much confidence in what the assistance program can and cannot do in its present state. For some drivers, they find that out too late in accidents involving Tesla.
Accidents Involving Tesla: Example Cases
Given that these accidents can be deadly, the risk for new buyers of vehicles with the technology is high. In one accident in which the tech couldn’t recognize an immovable barrier, the car struck it going 70 miles per hour. That was a fatal accident for the driver and led to an investigation. That study found seven reasons that contributed to the risk factor and the ultimate accident. Problems with both the crash avoidance system and driver distraction were to blame as it was found that the driver was playing a game at the time of the crash.
That led to widespread concerns about customer perception of the technology and Tesla’s failure to notify drivers to continue paying attention even when the technology was in use. In addition, the study into that wreck called for Tesla to develop better crash prevention technology overall. According to safety experts, the fact that the driver assistance platform can only deal with situations it’s been programmed to deal with means that accidents involving Tesla can occur often if the developers haven’t thought of many scenarios a driver might encounter on the road.
Other accidents involving Tesla vehicle include:
- · A Texas accident that killed two when the car struck a tree and burst into flames. No one was in the driver’s seat at the time the crash happened. Elon Musk has denied that the car was at fault for this wreck.
- · A 2016 wreck in which a driver found himself embedded under a tractor-trailer, in which it was found that the automated detection in the Tesla failed to see the truck.
- · A 2018 wreck involving a stationary fire truck that was parked in an HOV lane when an accident was blocking the other side of the truck.
- · A 2019 wreck in which another car went underneath a tractor trailer and killed the occupant inside that vehicle.
Is the Tesla System Safe?
Other concerns about the possibility of accidents involving Tesla is that there’s too much variation in road condition and issues that could confuse the systems, too. One test showed how placing stickers on the road could overwhelm the system and cause the car to change lanes unnecessarily.
It’s why regulators want the companies involved in making these tools to not simply make them better but to enhance how the tech monitors other drivers’ operations. If the driver is fully distracted, they wouldn’t be able to respond quickly enough to an error.
Cars like this get placed on a range of 0 to 5 for self-driving systems. The Department of Transportation defines the Tesla level as a 2, or “partial automation.” This means the driver has to stay engaged while in the car for the system to be effective. The driver has to monitor the environment and be prepared to act. In 2021, Tesla is rolling out a “full self-driving subscription” at a cost of $10,000 in software upgrades. According to experts, however, even that tech falls below “Level 5 Autonomy” which is classified as full automation. Some say that Tesla’s marketing statements are misleading especially as the body count grows from drivers who thought the tech was more advanced than it was in reality.
Investigations into Autonomous Vehicles Highlight Tesla
News stories about accidents with driving assistance technology have prompted the U.S. government to launch investigations into the matters. There have been dozens of crashes overall when this technology was used. Of those, every accident but six have involved Teslas. In eight of those crashes, ten people were killed across all the involved vehicles, and those were all accidents involving Teslas.
Some believe that Elon Musk has more confidence in the technology’s abilities than he should, even though the company has told regulators it is not capable of driving on its own all the time. Some drivers have even taken to making videos of what it looks like and how the car operates when they’re in the driver’s seat but allowing the Autopilot program to run.
While companies like Tesla pride themselves on innovation, that sometimes comes with a cost. It’s why the National Transportation Safety Board Chair has called on six automakers including Tesla to limit self-driving feature development currently until more is known from monitoring current users. The other five companies involved in that did respond to or implement those recommendations, but Tesla did not.
What Should I Do if I Was in a Tesla Accident?
If you were hurt in an accident involving a Tesla, whether it was your own car or you were hit by someone else driving one, you need to protect your rights immediately. These accidents can make for complex personal injury lawsuits, especially as a result of the growing concerns about whether the technology is safe. It’s possible that future lawsuits would target the driver in operation of the car but also even Tesla if they are at fault for dangerous or malfunctioning programs.
In all of these cases, however, you deserve to get the insight of an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Launching an investigation is crucial so that you can discover all of the potentially liable parties in the wreck and give yourself the best chance of recovering damage compensation. It can come as a shock to learn that a car you believed to be safe with technology promoted as nearly autonomous caused you harm, but as many cases show, Tesla has a long way to go in making sure drivers are safe. If you need help with lost wages, medical bills, and more, the time to speak with a lawyer is now.