On March 23rd, 2018, a Tesla Model X was driving down Highway 101 near Mountain View, California when it crashed into a concrete barrier. The sole occupant of the vehicle was killed in the car accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was tasked with investigating the crash and determining its cause. As the Model X is one of the most popular self-driving cars in the world, it appeared that autonomous technology defects could have played a role in the fatal accident. However, it was not long until the NTSB investigation was disrupted by Tesla, who released an unexpected public announcement regarding the causes behind the crash.
According to Tesla, the Model X’s autopilot mode was engaged and functioning at the time of the collision. Using internal company data collected from the autonomous vehicle, Tesla stated the vehicle began issuing warnings about the oncoming barrier approximately five seconds before the crash. If true, it would mean the driver had roughly 450 feet to make adjustments. Yet Tesla claims there is no evidence the driver reacted to the audio and visual warning systems.
The question still remains why the autopilot system did not make its own emergency adjustments to prevent the collision. In theory, the system should be able to apply the brakes or move the steering wheel autonomously. It has been proposed that another vehicle may have been directly adjacent to the Model X, preventing it from leaving the lane, but this theory has not been backed by any clear evidence. The possibility that the autopilot system failed is still strong, and would place liability onto Tesla if found to be the case.
(ABC 7 posted a full article about the Model X fatal collision in Mountain View. You can click here to read it.)
Autonomous Driving Dangers
The Mountain View Tesla crash has brought national attention back to the apparent dangers of self-driving vehicles. Autopilots are capable of glitches and calculation errors, which can feasibly contribute to a car accident if things go wrong. It is also likely that drivers in autonomous cars gain a false sense of security behind the wheel, thinking the vehicle can manage all aspects of their trip, including making emergency maneuvers. As this is not the case, self-driving vehicles may be increasing the likelihood of a distracted driving accident whenever they hit the road.
Nationally Recognized Injury Lawyers in St. Louis
Self-driving vehicles do seem to have much potential, but the technology simply is not reliable enough as it is. The hazards “smart” cars make on the road are real and can be devastating. If you or a loved one are ever hurt due to the defects or mistakes of an autonomous vehicle – whether you were riding in it or not – you can come to The Simon Law Firm for reliable, compassionate, and high-experienced legal representation from our award-winning team of St. Louis car accident attorneys. Every client is treated like family, not a case number, helping you find comfort and confidence as your case progresses.
Find out more about our law firm by calling (314) 241-2929 or sending us an email.