Drivers in New York who keep up with the advances made in semi-autonomous vehicle technology may remember an accident that occurred in Utah back in May. The driver of a Tesla Model S turned on Autopilot, a driver-assist program, and took her hands off the wheel for 80 seconds to use her phone. She then collided with a parked fire truck.
One positive is that the driver suffered only a relatively minor injury when she was, in fact, traveling at 60 mph. However, the accident may have confirms some suspicions that Tesla's Autopilot is making drivers dangerously complacent. Tesla has continually warned that the program requires driver monitoring, and the software itself gives visual alerts on the dashboard to serve as reminders.
This concern is all the more pressing considering the current race among automakers to add driver-assist programs to their vehicles. Whether fueled by a desire to keep up with competitors or do something about rising accident rates, some automakers are not taking irrational human behaviors into account with their products.
The Tesla CEO criticized the media for its wide coverage of the Utah accident, saying that they should focus instead on the hundreds of more serious accidents caused daily by traditional vehicles. The Utah accident is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
When a victim is involved in a car accident through no fault of their own, they may want to speak with a lawyer about filing a claim. A lawyer could bring in professionals to show just how the at-fault driver was being negligent.