Autonomous features are becoming common in new cars. “Autopilot” is a general term many automakers use for their automated or semi-automated vehicles with features like self-driving mode, auto braking, speed control, and lane control.
Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. gained fame for both its autopilot innovations and its infamous self-driving car crashes. Tesla is just one of more than 10 companies now making cars with autopilot, including Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, and Volvo.
At Sally Morin Law, our clients are asking us whether autopilot is safe to use while driving. Well, as driverless car accident lawyers, we’re sure seeing plenty of accidents involving autopilot! Let’s look at some examples so you can judge for yourself.
In California and Beyond, Autopilot Safety is Questionable
When a Tesla Model X crashed in Mountain View, California, and its driver died in the accident, crash investigators carefully examined the scene and vehicle. They found that the driver received several warnings before the accident, but was likely distracted by a smartphone and didn’t notice.
Another California autonomous car crash, this time in Gardena, resulted in the deaths of two people. A Tesla Model S ran a red light and smashed into a Honda Civic, sending the Tesla’s driver and passenger to the hospital with injuries.
You may have also heard about the Uber accident with ties to San Jose where a distracted driver failed to notice a pedestrian while looking down and watching “The Voice.” The Uber autopilot system misjudged the situation and hit the pedestrian, killing her.
Autopilot Isn’t an Excuse for Distracted Driving
These well-publicized incidents have helped many Californians realize something important: Autopilot isn’t really autopilot. Tesla’s system, for example, is classified as a “driver assistance program,” which means the driver must pay attention to the road and keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times.
As National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt put it, “Systems like Autopilot cannot drive themselves, yet drivers continue to use them without paying attention.” Use autopilot at your own risk, at the risk of others on the road.
So what happens if you’re injured in an autopilot accident? Can you still pursue a personal injury case? YES! You absolutely can.
A crash that involves autopilot is likely to be a distracted driving accident. When the driver isn’t paying attention, they’re failing to drive responsibly on California’s roads.
In an accident with a driver-assisted vehicle where the driver isn’t watching the car or road, you can likely establish negligence. The two most commonly applied negligence claims involved are ordinary negligence and/or negligence per se. Additionally, the vehicle manufacturer may be liable for a system malfunction or flaw.
Here’s the bottom line: Autopilot is no excuse for injuring you! With the help of Sally Morin Law, you can get to the bottom of what happened in your accident and put the responsibility where it belongs with a car accident injury case.
I got into a accident almost a year ago and through out the time Annie Heller and Amber Rains were very helpful solving the issue. It was very professional and to the point and although the accident was quite traumatic they made it very smooth and made me feel at ease. It was a pleasure working with Sally Morin Law and in the future if I know anyone in need of an attorney I will be sure to reccomend you guys. Thank you for helping me at times of need. – Anthony D.
Experience a serious autopilot car accident in San Francisco?
Check out our San Francisco Driverless Car Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including autonomous vehicle accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.