Anyone in New York who watches the news regularly knows that Tesla’s semi-autonomous vehicles are getting in a lot of accidents. One of the more recent crashes occurred in Utah when the driver of a Tesla Model S collided with a fire truck and suffered a broken ankle. While the Autopilot program was on, the driver admitted that she was looking down at her phone when the accident occurred.
The accident was widely covered by news media, prompting a criticism from the Tesla CEO that the accident’s importance is being exaggerated. The CEO has made several messages on social media questioning why news media covered such a minor accident and yet never cover the hundreds of fatal crashes that occur each day. Many say the answer is simple — unlike other accidents, this one raises concerns about the future safety of semi-autonomous cars.
For example, self-driving cars are known to make drivers complacent. This false sense of security is what leads to the misuse of Tesla’s Autopilot program, which suggests that the company should be pushing for stronger safety standards or working with federal car regulators to oversee these problems. In addition, the vehicles have not yet been sufficiently test-driven in simulated or real-world settings. One report estimates that such vehicles should be driven for at least 11 billion miles: a number far from attained by Tesla.
While the manufacturers of autonomous vehicle tech could be blamed for inadequate safety standards, victims of car accidents will most likely be targeting the negligent drivers themselves when filing auto accident claims. It all begins with a lawyer’s case evaluation. Attorneys can usually hire experts to gather police reports, reconstruct the accidents and take photographs. They can also calculate reasonable settlements on behalf of their clients.