Serving Justice

Tesla Faces Scrutiny Over Recent Crashes Involving Self-Driving Vehicles

Earlier this summer, in Laguna Beach California, a Tesla Sudan driving in autopilot mode hit a parked police car, severely damaging both vehicles. This is yet another autonomous (or “self-driving”) car incident that has occurred in recent months.

In March, a Model X SUV hit a safety barrier in Mountain View, California and killed the driver. Another driver in Salt Lake City suffered injuries when her car hit a parked fire truck. The carmaker says autopilot is not made to prevent crashes and cautions drivers to avoid depending on it entirely.

Following the Laguna Beach incident, Tesla released a statement saying: “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.”

The statement included that Tesla “has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings’.”

Tesla currently faces four active investigations by federal authorities. One investigation targets a post-crash fire and the other three focus on the vehicle’s Autopilot function.

The automobile industry routinely refers to this new driving technology in several different ways, including:

  • Self-driving cars;
  • Autonomous vehicles;
  • Semi-autonomous vehicles;
  • Autopilot;
  • Robot Cars; and
  • Automatic Driving System (“ADS”).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), along with the vehicle manufacturers, have categorized this technology into six (6) categories:

  1. Level Zero – No Automation;
  2. Level One – Driver Assistance;
  3. Level Two – Partial Automation;
  4. Level Three – Conditional Automation;
  5. Level Four – High Automation; and
  6. Level Five – Full Automation.

It appears the vehicle manufacturers are racing against each other to hit the market with new products and technology, and NHTSA is trying to keep pace with them in this rapidly-evolving pursuit. With the haste in rushing new products to the market, we can only hope that the car makers properly test these products before they reach the end consumer.

Houston Automobile Products Liability Attorneys

The automobile products liability lawyers at Ramsey Law Group handle vehicle defect cases throughout Texas and other states. Our Houston car accident lawyers have successfully pursued hundreds of cases involving defects and failures against most vehicle and tire manufacturers for defective automobile and automobile component parts. These cases have included tire failures, crashworthiness, stability, rollovers, airbags, seatbelts, and vehicle fires. If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle as a result of a defect, contact us today for a free consultation.