Is NHTSA Getting Ready to Formally Investigate Tesla's Autopilot?
An Orange County man has filed a product liability lawsuit against automaker Tesla Motors saying that his SUV suddenly accelerated while he was parking it in the garage of his Irvine home. According to a report in The Orange County Register, Ji Chang Son said he bought the vehicle at the automaker’s Costa Mesa gallery in August. The incident, he said, occurred the following month when the SUV accelerated and crashed through a wall into his living room. Both Son and his son were injured, according to the complaint.
Son’s attorneys claim that 10 Tesla drivers have reported similar problems while parking or driving their Model X SUVs slowly. Since only 16,000 Model X SUVs have been sold since the car was unveiled, the number of reports is remarkably high compared with other cars on the road, the lawsuit states. Tesla has already issued a statement saying that this crash in Irvine was not the company’s fault. Company officials say “evidence shows” that Son pressed “the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent.”
Problems with Tesla Vehicles
Tesla’s Model X SUV is equipped with self-driving hardware, which the automaker claims is “substantially safer” than human drivers. But Son and his attorneys say the vehicle has “programmatic flaws.” The lawsuit says Tesla has known that the sudden acceleration incidents are occurring at a high rate with Model X, but hasn’t bothered to explain what is causing them.
Over the last several months, there have been reports of Tesla collisions including fatalities and serious injuries involving its Autopilot feature. Since the crashes have been reported, Tesla has walked back its initial marketing of these vehicles as semi-autonomous and stated that drivers should be prepared to take over if something goes wrong. It is also interesting to note that each time an accident has been reported with regard to a Tesla vehicle, the automaker has blamed the driver.
Toyota faced huge problems in 2010 when there were scores of reports of vehicles suddenly accelerating. A number of injuries and fatalities were also reported. Our auto defect lawyers will be watching this issue with great interest. It appears unlikely at this point that Tesla will issue a recall in the near future since they are still denying that their car had anything to do with the crashes, which drivers are saying, were caused by sudden or unintended acceleration.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. An experienced auto product liability attorney will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.