The autopilot feature of the Tesla has come under increased scrutiny after drivers allege that it is dangerously defective. Now a class action lawsuit has been brought against Tesla by approximately 50,000 customers owning Model S and Model X Teslas. The Tesla owners claim that the car swerved and slammed on the brakes while on autopilot and maintained speed when approaching other cars. This raises questions about the safety protocols for self-driving cars as leading manufacturers race to introduce their own versions of driverless cars.
The lawsuit alleges that the so-called advanced autopilot technology is tainted by defective software and has put drivers at risk of injury or death. Tesla disagrees with these claims. The company stated that its updates are being rolled out over a period of time. Tesla alleges that it was upfront about its approach to the Enhanced Autopilot feature in that it promised to introduce upgrades incrementally. In any case, it never claimed that its cars are fully self-driving. But Tesla implemented two updates in February and March of 2017 and customers continued to report issues.
In 2016, a federal investigation into a deadly crash involving a Tesla Model S found that the car had no defects that would compromise its safety. Similarly, a number of other crashes involving Tesla cars under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that the cars’ safety mechanisms performed as expected.
These findings are good news for Tesla, which touts self-driving cars as one of the keys to safer roads. Indeed, engineers confirm that there will be fewer accidents with self-driving cars than human driven cars. Even more importantly, technology will improve and continue to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the road.
But before driverless cars become the norm on the road, the NHTSA has warnings for manufacturers like Tesla and for drivers. It cautions automakers that they must still design their cars to account for distracted drivers. Meanwhile, drivers must understand that autopilot systems are not intended to substitute for humans. Drivers must remember that they need to be alert and attentive when using the self-driving mechanism.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in an automobile accident, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.