People who own Tesla vehicles in California may take advantage of the car’s Autopilot system. A highly innovative concept from an equally innovative company, the feature enables the vehicle to control itself on the road with little or no involvement from the driver. However, the Autopilot feature has been blamed on numerous accidents across the country, including some that were fatal. As a result of one fatal accident involving Tesla’s Autopilot system, the surviving family has brought suit against the company, and the trial is set to begin on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles.
Details of the specific incident in question
On Dec. 29, 2019, a 28-year-old man was driving his Tesla Model S on a freeway in Gardena with the Autopilot feature engaged. As he exited the freeway, the vehicle ran a red light and collided with a Honda Civic. The driver and passenger in the Civic were killed in the crash.
The victims’ surviving family has filed a lawsuit against the automaker along with the driver. They claim that the Autopilot feature makes drivers less attentive and that Tesla understood the risks when it rolled out the technology in its cars. For its part, the company states on its website that the Autopilot feature is not supposed to replace the driver completely or make the cars fully autonomous. Further, the company has also said that it feels its driver assistance software can help save lives. Incidentally, the U.S. Justice Department had reportedly weighed bringing criminal charges against the automaker, but so far, the agency has not pursued prosecution.
Long-term legal implications could be possible
This lawsuit against Tesla represents the first time a case will be heard regarding driverless technology being blamed for causing a fatal accident. The case is sure to set a precedent for other claims that may arise involving similar liability issues. Although many drivers in California may likely welcome a system that can take over the driving for them, nothing can replace human skills and decision-making, especially in dangerous situations. Anyone who was hurt or lost a loved one in a crash involving a vehicle using driverless or driver assistance technology should consult an experienced personal injury attorney at the earliest opportunity.