Tesla vehicles with Autopilot software engaged were involved in 273 reported crashes over the past year – far more than previously known. According to a report in The Washington Post, the numbers, which were published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show that Tesla vehicles made up nearly 70% of the 392 crashes involving advanced driver-assist systems reported since last July, and a majority of the fatalities and serious injuries.
More Crashes Than Previously Known
Eight of the Tesla crashes took place before June 2021, according to NHTSA data. Previously, NHTSA said it had investigated 42 crashes potentially involving driver assistance, 35 of which included Tesla vehicles, in a more limited data set that went back to 2016. Of the six fatalities listed in the data set published last week, five were linked to Tesla vehicles, including a July 2021 crash involving a pedestrian in Flushing, Queens, and a deadly crash in March in Castro Valley, California.
Tesla Autopilot is a driver-assist system that is semi-automated. However, drivers must pay attention and be ready to take over the controls at all times. An expanded set of features called the “Full Self-Driving” beta, adds the ability to maneuver city and residential streets, stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and making turns while navigating vehicles from point to point.
Auto safety experts have raised serious concerns about the technology’s safety since it is being tested on public roadways. Federal officials have targeted Tesla with probes, recalls and even public admonishments. The new data set revealed that more crashes are happening than NHTSA had previously known, experts say.
NHTSA disclosed last week that Tesla’s Autopilot is on around 830,000 vehicles dating to 2014. The incidents were heavily concentrated in California and Texas, the two most populous states and also the U.S. locations Tesla has made its home. Nearly a third of the crashes involving driver assistance, 125, occurred in California while 33 took place in Texas.
Auto Product Liability Issues
When it came to the Autopilot, Tesla marketed the feature as “autonomous,” but later backtracked and said drivers need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and take over at any time. It is misleading for drivers who believe they have a driverless feature, and may not be aware of the finer points and complexities of using such a feature.
Our auto defect attorneys have always maintained that autonomous features should not make it to the market without proper testing
. If you have been injured while driving a Tesla with Autopilot, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Call an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.