The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has added another fatality involving a Tesla to the list of crashes it is investigating because of the use of partially automated driving systems.
According to a CNBC news report, a special crash investigation team was sent out to a July 26 crash on the Long Island Expressway in New York in which a man was fatally injured by a Tesla Model Y SUV.
Investigating agents have now been sent to 10 fatal crashes featuring similar circumstances, nine of which involved Tesla vehicles.
A total of 12 people were killed in these crashes. The only fatal crash in which a Tesla wasn’t involved was in March of 2018 when an autonomous Uber test vehicle ran down a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.
Details of the New Investigation
The New York crash is on an updated list of those under investigation by NHTSA that was released on Sept. 3. The New York Police Department said that a 52-year-old was hit by a Tesla and killed while changing a flat tire on his vehicle, which was parked on the left shoulder of the Long Island Expressway in Queens. The Tesla driver remained at the scene. The victim was identified as Jean Louis of Cambria Heights, New York.
This fatal incident was revealed about three weeks after NHTSA opened up a formal investigation into Tesla’s partially automated driving system or Autopilot and how it has been involved in crashes involving parked emergency vehicles. The investigation comes as NHTSA has become more aggressive in looking at these automated driving systems since President Joe Biden took office. For years, NHTSA has been hesitant to regulate the systems, which are believed to have tremendous potential to save lives.
As more reports of crashes started to come in involving its Autopilot, Tesla has been saying that drivers must never take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road and must be ready to intervene at any moment – even if the Autopilot feature is engaged. Tesla has been criticized by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other safety advocates who say it needs a stronger system to watch drivers, making sure they are paying attention.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Our auto defect lawyers have raised concerns particularly about Tesla’s Autopilot, which has a misleading name and which we’ve seen repeatedly abused by drivers on our freeways in Southern California and elsewhere.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a malfunctioning Autopilot system, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.