Does Tesla Autopilot Make Cars Safer? Or More Dangerous? 

m_Tesla_1-203x300Tesla is well-known for their innovations in the electric vehicle industry, notably their Autopilot system technology. Autopilot is not designed to be used solely without human input; however, many users treat it that way which has resulted in a rash of deadly accidents, and legal action, against the enormously lucrative company. Tesla claims their systems are designed to reduce automobile crashes caused by human error and distractions, which account for a majority of the roughly 40,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year. However, the NHTSA has a dozen active investigations into crashes involving this assistive driving technology, and recently released a list of at least 10 fatalities from crashes involving Autopilot since 2016.

While Autopilot can help control certain aspects of driving the car, such as changing lanes, the driver must still maintain awareness of their surroundings despite stories of drivers that fall asleep at the wheel or read a book while relying on the vehicle technology to make decisions for them. These actions are dangerous as the system is not meant to be self-driving and can result in serious injuries, or death, to both the driver and innocent motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Attorney David Tapalian is an experienced personal injury lawyer who helps victims of car accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including those crashes caused by a negligent or distracted driver.  If you’ve been the victim of a dangerous auto accident, call 401-552-5000 to see how Tapalian Law can help you hold the negligent driver liable for your injuries.

Recent Tesla Accidents 

The NHTSA is investigating a number of instances involving the Tesla autopilot system malfunctioning and resulting in personal injury or death. A crash in 2019 took the life of a 15-year-old boy whose father was driving a pickup truck and turned on his blinker to switch lanes. While changing lanes, the Tesla vehicle traveling behind him at a high speed did not slow down. As a result, the truck was rear-ended in the collision and the child was ejected and killed. Further investigation into the incident found that the Tesla was using the Autopilot system at the time of the crash. The technology, and the Tesla operator, failed to slow down the vehicle with an adequate amount of time to prevent the crash. Other Tesla crashes were due to the Autopilot system not braking for other vehicles and, in one instance, the technology did not notice a nearby concrete barrier. The drivers in both cases were killed.

The founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, says that his company is taking the proper precautions to avoid fatal accidents. Tesla often mentions how many of the accidents caused by their vehicles were the fault of the driver. The National Transportation Board has another view. They say that Tesla is not taking adequate safety measures to ensure drivers are using the technology correctly. For example, General Motors created a Super Cruise system that turns off completely if the driver’s eyes are not on the road. After providing the operator with a few warnings, the entire system will shut down if their eyes are still not on the road. On the other hand, Tesla’s autopiloting system only measures the amount of time the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel and can be misled if the hands touch for only a few seconds before being removed.

Tapalian Law Handles Autopilot Accident Cases

With over 20 years of experience in the field of personal injury law, Attorney David Tapalian works tirelessly to get the results you deserve. He helps victims across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida, as well as family members of those who died due to another’s negligent actions. Autopilot car accidents are often fatal, and a personal injury lawyer can explain the nuances of filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of your lost loved one. Attorney Tapalian dedicates his work to helping innocent victims achieve the justice they deserve. Tapalian Law will go through any means necessary, such as arbitration and litigation, if it provides you with a better outcome. For any injury, no matter how large or small, contact our Rhode Island personal injury office at 401-552-5000 or send us an electronic message. We offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you and we only get paid when you win compensation.


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