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What To Do If You’re Involved in A Tesla Autopilot Accident?

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Tesla Autopilot
By Ashley Amerio

If you keep up with the news, you’ve probably heard of many Tesla ‘Autopilot’ feature vehicle accidents. According to its website, Tesla’s Autopilot feature allows “your car to steer, accelerate, and halt automatically inside its lane.” However, the present version of Autopilot requires “vigorous driver monitoring” and does not “render the automobile autonomous.”

Even with Tesla’s explicit warning (well, sort of), the reports of motorists finding the flaws of Autopilot through accidents are frequent.

In February of last year, the crash in Fontana, California, was fatal after the vehicle of a man’s Tesla Model 3 collided with an inverted semi-tractor trailer on a highway. Following the crash, California highway authorities speculated that the driver could have been driving the vehicle using Autopilot during the collision. In The Associated Press’s word. The driver, named Steven Michael Hendrickson, age 35, had posted numerous videos on social media of himself driving the car with neither his hands on the steering wheel nor his foot on the pedal.

Hendrickson was said to be a member of a Tesla club in Southern California. Members of the club, such as Hendrickson, posted numerous pictures and videos of their different Teslas via social networks. A video posted on his Instagram page showed him sitting on the front seat, with only his fingers on the steering wheel or pedal, as the Tesla drove through hazardous freeway roads. According to NBC News, the video featured the following comment: “Best carpooling friend ever even handles the boring traffic for me.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into the deadly accident. According to Al Jazeera, this was the agency’s 29th instance involving a Tesla vehicle.

Tesla Drivers Using Autopilot Watch the Road Less, MIT Study Shows

Any news report featuring the word “Tesla” in its title attracts attention. As a result, it’s not unexpected that crashes involving Tesla’s “Autopilot” feature receive more media attention than crashes involving other brands.

A study revealed how drivers who use Tesla’s Autopilot feature behave. They look away from traffic for more extended periods and more frequently than when it is not in use. When an Autopilot Tesla moves at a certain speed but stays within the designated lane and at an appropriate distance from vehicles ahead, the drivers’ eyes are likely to wander.

Four researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Agelab, wrote the study published in the journal Prevention and Analysis of Accidents. Agelab is an interdisciplinary research center that aims to enhance the quality of living of the elderly. Researchers developed an algorithm based on 290 recordings of eye movements of drivers during and after the deactivation of Autopilot. 

The conclusion is clear that when Autopilot mode is in operation, “drivers glanced less on the road and concentrated mostly on other areas that have nothing to do with driving when Autopilot was engaged, compared to driving manually.”

We’ve had ADAS for a long time. Adaptive cruise control requires drivers to maneuver the automobile. However, they could remove their feet from the pedal. Many vehicles now have automated emergency brakes and proactive lane regulation, including blind-spot alarms and cross-traffic brakes for parking spaces and similar features. According to AAA, if these systems were installed in every vehicle in the United States, they could avoid 40% of collisions, 29% of fatalities, and 27% of damages.

The problem is when the various ADAS capabilities are integrated with a whole system providing the ability for the vehicle to drive itself over longer distances without the need for driver involvement. In addition to the present “feet off” capacity, the final goal is “hands-off” capability. Suppose drivers do not have to engage their feet or hands for driving. How can we ensure that they are alert enough to regain control of the vehicle needs to give back control since its algorithms aren’t sure what to do with unexpected sensor information?

“All of the hands-free features available today —such as GM’s Super Cruise, Nissan’s ProPilot 2.0, and Ford’s BlueCruise—use infrared cameras to monitor the driver’s head position and gaze,” said Sam Abuelsamid, who is a research analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

He went over the many methods automakers use to alert drivers once they are no longer required to steer. According to Abuelsamid, these eye-tracking technologies are “much greater to the wheel-torque sensors employed by hands-on systems such as Ford’s Copilot 360+, Tesla’s AutoPilot,  Volvo Drive Pilot. Nissan ProPilot, and others.”

The company utilizes the less efficient one of the two. Also, it sells commercially available gadgets that simulate a motorist’s hands on the steering wheel of a Tesla. Meanwhile, social media is flooded with footage of drivers performing unsafe tricks like sitting in the rear seat while a Tesla is in Autopilot mode.

Is Tesla Being Treated Unequally?

Tesla is frequently the topic of headlines that are rarely applicable to other manufacturers. According to a study, since 2016, safety officials have investigated 33 separate Tesla crashes in which the manufacturer’s ADAS technologies were allegedly employed. In three of them, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared Autopilot to be the cause of a non-deadly crash.

Tesla argues that when used properly, Autopilot can be safer than manual statistics have been contestedriving. Yet, its in numerous reviews. NHTSA may need to conduct comprehensive forensic studies of similar crashes to determine if the technology is dangerous or safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States is looking into a fatal incident involving a Model S Tesla from 2022 that seemed to have its Autopilot system turned on.

According to information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), three persons were killed in a car collision in California earlier in May. According to the Orange County Register, the electric car smashed into construction machinery, totaling the vehicle.

The incident is the 42nd to be included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Crash Investigation systems. The investigation was launched in 2016 following a deadly crash in Florida featuring a Tesla Model S with its Autopilot system turned on.

Tesla has dissolved the media relations division and did not respond to any comments.

What Should You Do When Involved in a Tesla Autopilot Car Accident?

According to Business Insider, a prominent Silicon Valley investment company member thinks that self-driving cars will take over the roads in the coming year. If this forecast is correct, a critical concern that must be addressed is the danger of liability in the event of an accident. Is the driver of a self-driving vehicle liable, or would the manufacturer be found accountable as a third party? It is currently possible to be both.

Tesla is one of the companies that is developing driverless vehicle technology. They’ve got a new collection of vehicles with “Autopilot mode,” which allows the car to drive itself. There are, however, some critical limitations to this Autopilot mode. Most significantly, Teslas aren’t entirely independent self-driving cars. Tesla warns consumers that while in Autopilot, they must remain watchful and alert and only utilize the feature for certain kinds of roads.

Tesla is also adamant about drivers maintaining their hands on the steering wheel while also being ready to step in should the technology fail. Even in Autopilot mode, the driver is responsible for operating the vehicle safely.

Reckless Drivers in Autopilot Mode

Numerous videos of drivers reading the paper, watching a film, or even in the back seat while driving on a busy road or freeway can be found on YouTube. This is incredibly rash and irresponsible behavior. Suppose you or a loved one is badly hurt in a Tesla collision. In that case, you may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the Tesla driver and their car insurance company.

This video depicts how passengers and drivers are relaxing in a self-driving vehicle.

Tesla’s technology isn’t Up to Par

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into whether Tesla’s Autopilot feature is flawed following a fatal accident that involved the Tesla resulting from the car not being aware of the white sides of the commercial tractor-trailer during the daytime.

This is a significant concern considering more than 70k Tesla vehicles are currently on busy highways and roads. This is before the federal and state regulators have had the chance to study how “self-driving” cars work and whether they’re secure.

Federal Lawsuit Regarding Tesla Autopilot Defects

According to Forbes, three Tesla owners filed a complaint in the United States District Court in San Jose, California, alleging that the corporation intentionally supplied vehicles having “Advanced Autopilot” systems that were no good for use and lacked conventional safety measures. According to the lawsuit, Tesla automobiles equipped with Autopilot can swerve off the road and cause serious hazards.

Tesla released a news statement in which it slammed the lawsuit to collect attorney’s costs (not unusual, given the usual practice of large corporations when they are pursuing legal action for the benefit of consumers who have suffered injuries). Furthermore, Tesla has recalled more than fifty thousand Model X and Model S cars within one day of the lawsuit. The business detected a “possible manufacturing issue” with the electronic parking brakes, which could hinder the brake pedal from correctly releasing.

Financial Compensation for Losses Caused by a Tesla Accident.

Suppose you are hit by a Tesla or were a passenger in a Tesla. In that case, you have grounds to seek financial compensation for your losses and damages. Talk to an expert Sacramento attorney for personal injuries as soon as possible to discuss the legal options available to you. If you elect to pursue a claim, you can usually recover two sorts of financial damages from the negligent parties or person: economic damages and non-economic damages. Monetary damages can be described as follows:

  • Medical expenses (both present and future) costs)
  • Loss of income due to absence at work (including future lost pay if your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job).

 

Suffering and pain damages are non-economic damages. They are the damages and losses that don’t fit neatly on a bill. Instead, they are damages and failures such as being unable to enjoy the outdoors with your children or assist your partner with chores at home, not being able to go to important family gatherings, and so on.

Do Not Wait to File a Tesla Accident Injury Claim

California, like any state, imposes time limits on how long an injured party (or a decedent’s survivor in a death case) has to submit a claim in court against the party responsible. The statute of limitations is the legal term for this. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years from the date of your injury. Suppose you don’t file a suit in 2 years. In that case, a California court will almost certainly dismiss your claim. You’ll lose your opportunity to seek financial retribution from the at-fault party.

In a lawsuit based on wrongful death, the statute of limitations will be similar to a personal injury lawsuit. You must file an action for wrongful death under two years after the date of your loved one’s passing away.

 

The legal process against a large corporation such as Tesla isn’t easy. Like other major automakers, Tesla employs dozens of defense attorneys who work around the clock to refute and dismiss personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

The process of proving the fault of a self-driving vehicle accident is a difficult task without the assistance of a seasoned Tesla autopilot accident lawyer. 

Ashley Injury Lawyers is a reputable law firm. At Ashley Injury Lawyers, we are experts in constructing an efficient self-driving car accident claim.

We know the latest regulations and are informed of the latest legislation passed.

If you’ve suffered injuries in an Autopilot accident, you don’t need to go up against the manufacturers on your own. Call us now at 916-419-1111 or our website to request a free case evaluation to get immediate assistance!

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