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Another Deadly Tesla Autopilot Crash

Fourth Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash

A crash occurred on May 5, 2021, in the Los Angeles area that was the fourth fatal incident involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode. The Model 3 that crashed on May 5th had the Autopilot system activated when it slammed into a truck that had overturned in the roadway. The Tesla driver was killed. The truck driver and a good samaritan who had stopped to assist were injured.  

In addition to three other fatal collisions involving Teslas in Autopilot mode, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also conducted probes on 28 other non-fatal crashes.  

One of the deadly crashes occurred in the middle of April 2021 when a Tesla collided with a tree in a Houston-area suburb. The vehicle ignited, and it took four hours for firefighters to extinguish the flames that were fed by the vehicle’s battery pack. 

Watch the YouTube video. In the news clip below, it is reported that Elon Musk said the Autopilot was not engaged at the time of the Texas incident.

Incidents May Affect Public Acceptance

We have all been hearing for several years that self-driving vehicles will take over our highways. Incidents like this may affect widespread acceptance by the consumer market. Many are concerned that these automated systems are not yet ready for the roads.

Are Teslas Fully Self-Driving?

Tesla vehicles rely on radar sensors and cameras for an awareness of their surroundings. The Tesla website and the safety manuals for their vehicles do not state that the Autopilot system is fully autonomous. The manuals emphasize that drivers must maintain their attention to the road and stay ready to intervene if necessary to avoid incidents.

Despite this, there have been numerous cases where a Tesla operator has been caught letting the car drive completely autonomously. Earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that police had arrested a man who had been sitting in the rear seat of his Tesla while it drove itself down the freeway. Other incidents have occurred with drivers using the Tesla Autopilot being so distracted they did not gain control of the vehicle in time to avoid a crash. 

Critics say that the driver-assist features of Tesla vehicles that are called Autopilot and referred to as “full self-driving” may mislead drivers into thinking they do not need to pay attention. 

Tesla shut down its public relations team in October of 2020. Statements issued by the National Transportation Safety Board with regard to other Tesla investigations suggest that there may be a strain in the relationship between Tesla and federal regulators.

Driver in May 5th Crash Praised Autopilot on Social Media

The driver that was killed in the most recent Tesla Autopilot crash had posted videos on Tiktok that praised the vehicle’s “self-driving” features and in which he appeared to be traveling without his hands on the steering wheel.  He referred to the Tesla as self-driving several times and expressed his thankfulness for that feature after a long day of work. He also posted a video on Facebook while traveling in his car, advising readers not to worry because he was “on autopilot.” 

He leaves behind a wife and two children. 

South Lake Tahoe Wrongful Death Lawyer

Hello, and thank you for reading. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a wrongful death lawyer serving the South Lake Tahoe area. It is always disheartening to learn of a fatal motor vehicle crash. We always think of the grieving families left behind. When negligence, either on the part of another motorist or an entity such as a vehicle manufacturer, results in wrongful death, the grieving process can be complicated by feelings of anger. If your family has suffered a loss as a result of an automobile accident, our skilled injury lawyers can offer compassionate, free, and friendly advice. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400.

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