Mar 17, 2024

Tesla’s Autopilot Systems Prompt Recalls and Lawsuits

tesla driver accident

Since day one, Tesla, Inc. has been pushing the envelope when it comes to making automobiles. Their most popular cutting-edge creation is the Tesla Model series, which supports their autopilot and self-driving software system, also known as Full Self-Driving Beta (FSD Beta). However, despite Tesla’s aggressive marketing that their driver assistance programs are safe and fully functioning, in recent years, their self-driving and autopilot features have been linked to numerous crashes that have caused severe and even fatal injuries.

Since FSD Beta's release to the public, the software has built a track record for being unreliable, unsafe, and repeatedly placing consumers at serious risk of harm. For years, thousands have been speaking up against the car company, arguing that consumers have been misled by their heavy marketing push, leading all the way back to 2016, when Elon Musk, the companies co-founder, said that Tesla vehicles leaving the factory were equipped with all the hardware they would need to achieve full autonomy—a statement that surprised and concerned some Tesla employees who were working on the project and did not believe that the technology was fully capable of keeping their drivers safe when behind the wheel. 

Since then, Elon has continued to comment that the company's technology was only “one or two years away from achieving full autonomy” and fully capable of keeping their drivers safe. Along with the marketing push, Tesla would publish what they called "safety reports." These reports would inform their consumers that accidents were less frequent when the autopilot was in use. However, many researchers and independent experts have claimed that the numbers shown in their reports are misleading, making it difficult to determine how safe the technology actually is.

Tesla Is Hit With Lawsuits and a Recall

In September 2022, Tesla had lawsuits filed against them in federal court by several Tesla car owners, accusing the company of fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, and false advertising. The lawsuit claimed that Tesla had made "misleading and deceptive statements regarding the company's advanced driver assistance systems in connection with claims about self-driving." Then in October 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that they had also launched a criminal investigation into the company's claims about the safety of its autopilot and self-driving software.

Earlier this year, a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 392 crashes between July 2021 and June 2022 involved driver-assistance programs, with Tesla accounting for nearly 70% of the incidents. According to the report by the NHTSA, the multiple issues identified with the Full Self-Driving Beta system included the failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, an inability to identify changes in the speed limit, proceeding through an intersection with a yellow light, and traveling straight in a turn-only lane. In some cases, the driver-assistance program even failed to recognize emergency vehicles or motorcycles on the road. 

Then on February 16, 2023, due to safety concerns listed on the report issued by the NHTSA, Tesla willingly issued a recall of over 360,000 vehicles that contained the experimental driver-assistance software, Full Self-Driving Beta. The vehicles that may have the Full Self-Driving Beta system include the Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y. During this time, Tesla also claims that those vehicles with the Full Self-Driving Beta system in place will receive an update via their over-the-air software.

For more information regarding the Tesla self-driving software lawsuit and how you or a loved one may be entitled to compensation, you can contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.