Tesla has emerged as a leader in the automated car industry. They tout their autopilot feature as a safe way to operate the vehicle. However, some lawmakers disagree following multiple crashes involving Tesla vehicles, and a federal agency has ordered automakers to report and track motor vehicle accidents involving vehicles that use autopilot or other advanced driver-assistance features.
While Teslas are still a relatively rare sight on Fayetteville roads, across the nation since 2016 three Tesla drivers lost their lives in crashes in which the autopilot feature was in use. In two of these crashes the Autopilot system and the individual operating the car failed to stop for semi-trucks crossing the road. In the third crash the Autopilot system and the individual operating the car failed to avoid striking a concrete barrier on a highway. Ultimately, since June 2016, 10 individuals lost their lives in eight separate accidents involving a Tesla and one individual died in a crash involving a Volvo with advanced driver-assistance features. Clearly safety is an issue when it comes to automated vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered automakers to report serious collisions involving vehicles utilizing autopilot or other advanced driver-assistance features within one day of the crash. A crash is serious if it kills a person, sends a person to the hospital, a vehicle must be towed or the airbags deploy. The aim of the order is to give the NHTSA the data it needs to identify any potential safety issues involving these vehicles.
According to some the new reporting rule is a good step in addressing potential safety issues with automated vehicles. Still, research needs to be done to determine just how safe these vehicles are. Moreover, liability issues arise when an automated vehicle is involved in a car crash. Our firm’s website on car accidents has further information for those who want to learn more about their rights and options after being involved in an auto accident.