Tesla is facing another lawsuit, this time in Florida, after a collision involving its Autopilot driver-assist system left Shawn Hudson with catastrophic brain and spinal injuries. According to CNET.com, Hudson filed the lawsuit against Tesla in Orange County, Florida, alleging that the automaker has “duped” consumers by exaggerating the Autopilot feature’s capabilities.
Overstating Autopilot’s Capabilities
Hudson said he was driving his Tesla Model S on Florida’s Turnpike between his home in Winter Garden and his job at a car dealership in Fort Pierce. He said he relied on the Autopilot system to reduce the tedium of his 125-mile commute. However, on the day of the collision, as Hudson’s Tesla approached a disabled vehicle in the left lane, it failed to stop and collided with that vehicle, leaving Hudson with severe and permanent injuries.
Tesla has maintained that the Autopilot did not malfunction and once again pointed fingers at drivers for not being vigilant enough. Hudson admitted to the Orlando Sentinel that he was looking at his phone from time to time when his car’s Autopilot was enabled. But he said he never completely trusted the car. So, he was still paying attention to the road.
Hudson also said that when he went to buy his Model S at the Tesla store, the Autopilot’s capabilities were in fact overstated to him. He was told that the feature would allow the vehicle to drive itself from one point to another with minimal user input or oversight. This is not the first lawsuit to make the claim that Tesla has misrepresented the Autopilot feature to consumers. Another lawsuit in Utah alleges that a Model S failed to stop at a red light and crashed into a fire truck. The driver in that case also said he was under the impression that the vehicle should stop when there are obstacles in its path.
Autopilot is Dangerous
With every death, catastrophic injury and accident involving the Autopilot feature (and there have been more around the world), it is becoming increasingly clear that this driver-assist feature is a horrible failure. Tesla should stop calling it the Autopilot especially now if they are telling drivers that it’s not going to work even as a semi-autonomous feature. Tesla did initially market it as a semi-autonomous feature, but quickly backtracked after a few accidents. It is irresponsible for Tesla to put consumers into a false sense of security when promoting their vehicles and later blame them for accidents that left drivers and passengers severely injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a Tesla vehicle equipped with the Autopilot feature, please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and hold the automaker accountable.