Tesla Vehicle Involved in California Fatal Crash

Two recent fatal collisions, one involving a Tesla vehicle on autopilot, and a self-driving Uber car, raise numerous safety issues and concerns.

A Tesla Model X SUV vehicle involved in a fatal crash on March 23, 2018 in Mountain View California was on autopilot.

Tesla claims that the driver who was killed and a damaged freeway barrier were at fault. The driver was an engineer, age 38.

Tesla, an electric car maker, stated that the driver did not have his hands on the steering wheel, for six seconds, before the crash, despite several warnings from the vehicle.

Tesla stated that it informs drivers that although autopilot system can keep speed, self-park and change lanes, that drivers are required to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, in order to keep control of the vehicle and prevent accidents.  

Tesla claims that the vehicle logs indicate that the driver did not take action to stop the car from crashing into a concrete lane divider, possibly pinning liability elsewhere as a auto accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on can explain.

The front of the SUV showed that the front of the vehicle was crushed, the hood was ripped off, and the front wheels were scattered on the roadway. The vehicle also caught fire.

Tesla claimed that there was a missing or damaged safety shield on the end of the freeway barrier. Tesla claimed that the highway safety barrier which was designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider was damaged in a prior accident, without being replaced.

The decedent’s family stated that the driver had taken the vehicle into the Tesla dealership with complaints about Autopilot problems before the fatal crash. Tesla stated that it could not find any record of the driver’s complaints.

The accident raises questions about Tesla’s Autopilot, and whether the company has gone far enough to ensure that its drivers and passengers are safe.

The Tesla crash follows another fatality that resulted from a self-driving Uber Volvo XC90 striking a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, on March 18, 2018.

In the self-driving Uber crash the vehicle was traveling at 40mph at the time of the collision. The vehicle had a driver behind the wheel at the time.

After the crash Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber’s self-driving car tests. Uber operations were also suspended in California, Pennsylvania, and Ontario.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles ordered that if Uber wanted to retain its testing privileges, a new permit will be needed and that Uber would need to address investigations concerning the Arizona crash.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Paul Englander for their insight into car accident case.